Published Tuesday, 23 April 2019
Waverley Borough Council’s Article 4 Direction, designed to protect retail and commercial property, has come into force in the commercial area of Beacon Hill.
In May 2018, the council’s Joint Planning Committee agreed that an Article 4 Direction would be made to restrict the change of use within the commercial area of Beacon Hill, in response to concerns that conversions in the area were leading to a shortage of commercial space for businesses in the borough. Following consultation with local residents and landowners and notification of Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the council made the Article 4 Direction in February this year. It subsequently came into force on 18 April 2019.
Under existing planning legislation, certain types of property – including shops, offices and premises used for light industry, warehousing or distribution – can be converted into residential housing under General Permitted Development, which often can be done without the requirement for planning permission. This means there is often little the council can do to prevent or control the conversions and can result in housing in unsuitable locations, that is out of character with the surrounding buildings, of poor quality and with little or no disabled access. The Article 4 Direction for Beacon Hill means that any new conversions in the area will need to obtain planning permission from the council.