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London council issues Article 4 Direction on permitted development

Words: Laura Edgar
Office conversion / Shutterstock_501902

Brent Council has issued an Article 4 Direction that means developers will need to apply for planning permission to convert office and light industrial space into homes.

Permitted development rights, introduced in 2013, mean a developer can bypass the full planning system for certain types of development.

The Article 4 Direction, which is laid out in the Town and Country (General Permitted Development) Order (England) 2015, covers a number of key employment areas in the borough, including Alperton, Neasden, Wembley and Staples Corner.

Shama Tatler, Brent Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, highways and planning, explained that before issuing the direction, developers could convert properties in a “piecemeal way” that didn’t consider the quality or design of the property, or the loss of employment space.

“As every planning application is considered on its merits, by making developers apply for planning permission, it won’t stop the new homes that we need from being built, but it will allow us to ensure that the new homes meet our standards, that local issues are taken into account, that local people are properly consulted and that we ensure suitable levels of affordable accommodation are secured in each scheme.

“By going the planning route, we also have the opportunity to weigh up the economic benefits and disadvantages of each scheme to see if the loss of local employment space is acceptable and what the wider benefits might be for Brent residents.”

Elsewhere in London

Last year, Lambeth Council restricted office to residential conversions using Article 4, to protect workspace in key parts of the borough and to make sure that housing developments in the borough are up to standard, provide affordable homes, and are built in appropriate places.

Hackney Council issued the direction to protect the borough’s launderettes and warehouses, while both Southwark Council and Wandsworth Council have used the measure to protect pubs. Westminster City Council issued an Article 4 Direction to prevent its high streets from being overrun by non-retail businesses such as estate agents.

Read more:

News report: Permitted development rights – all loss and no gain?

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