Protection for employment areas extended

New moves to protect the town’s major employment areas from inappropriately-located housing have been made by Crawley Borough Council, following Government changes to permitted development rights.

Currently, office, light industrial and warehouse premises cannot be converted to housing without planning permission in Manor Royal, Lowfield Heath, Maidenbower Business Park, Three Bridges Corridor and Tilgate Forest Business Centre.

The council adopted Article 4 directions in February 2021, which removed permitted development rights – allowing the conversion of certain property uses to housing without a need for planning permission – following concerns raised by the council and business community that residential development in employment areas is having a negative impact on the operation of these areas and the supply of business land.

The council also had concerns about the quality of life for anyone living in these areas, which can be noisy, busy places that don’t have the supporting facilities found in the town’s residential neighbourhoods.

However, Government changes to the use classes for planning meant that the council had to take new measures to continue protecting employment land from being turned into housing.

The council chose to pursue non-immediate Article 4 directions in July 2021, which were subject to a 12-month notification period, including a statutory consultation period. Notification was sent to businesses within the identified Main Employment Areas, as well as neighbouring authorities, business groups, land agents and other stakeholders.

These renewed Article 4 Directions will help us to retain the supply of business land and protect jobs and businesses. They will also ensure that residential development doesn’t come forward in locations that would result in a poor quality of life for residents. We’ve led the way in protecting our employment areas from housing for several years and will continue to do so.

Cllr Atif Nawaz

Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development

Crawley Borough Council