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Policy brought in to protect Hertsmere employment sites

Words: Laura Edgar
Offices / iStock-557608419

An article 4 direction has come into force to protect some of Hertsmere’s major employment sites, a measure that could help the borough to recover economically from the coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown.

Developers must now seek planning permission to convert any buildings into housing across 13 significant employment sites in Borehamwood, Elstree, Potters Bar, Bushey, Radlett and Shenley.

Before now, permitted development rights meant offices, light industrial and storage or distribution buildings could be converted into housing without applying for permission to the council.

Hertsmere Borough Council agreed the article 4 direction at an executive meeting more than a year ago, and then held a period of public consultation on the planning policy changes.

Dr Harvey Cohen, a councillor in the borough, said: “Given the current coronavirus crisis, we felt it was important that these new article 4 directions should now come into effect.

“It’s our ongoing aim that local planning rules safeguard businesses and jobs, but it’s especially important now to protect our commercial heartlands, as they will be vital for Hertsmere’s economic bounce-back following lockdown.

“Previously, under the prior approval process, if a developer wanted to convert offices into housing it was only necessary to show that their proposal was acceptable with regard to its impact on transport and highways, contamination risks, flood risk and noise impact.

“It meant we had no power to refuse development because it would have forced an existing business to move or because the proposal didn’t include affordable housing, for example. We felt that proposals which could dramatically change the nature of important areas of employment in the borough should require the submission of a planning application.”

The affected sites are in:

  • Borehamwood – Elstree Way; Stirling Way; Theobald Court; plus Borehamwood Enterprise Centre and Wrotham Business Park. 
  • Potters Bar – Cranborne Road; Station Close and Hollies Way.
  • Elstree – Centennial Park and Lismirrane Industrial Park.
  • Bushey – Otterspool Way.
  • Radlett – Beaumont Gate.
  • Shenley – Farm Close.

The article 4 directions can be found on the Hertsmere Borough Council website.

Image credit | iStock