Since the permitted development right to convert offices to residential was introduced Article 4 Directions have been used by councils in London and the South East to exempt defined areas from the eased rules. Now there is growing speculation that the government will introduce permanent measures.
John Walker, Secretary of the POS London Region and Director of Planning at Westminster, told Planning magazine that local authorities that currently have areas exempted under the existing permitted development right "now need to set up an article 4 direction if they want to protect their office stock after May" when the temporary rules are set to expire. Walker said that his council had already started the procedure to put a direction inplace to cover the currently exempted area.
Mike Kiely, Chair of the POS Board, emphasised to Planning that local authorities must demonstrate that they have up-to-date planning policies to deal with surplus office space in order to justify introducing the directions. "They also need to show that they have identified enough land to achieve their house-building targets," he said.
John Walker Mike Kiely