Protection for Crawley's major employment areas against inappropriately located housing extended

An extension to protect the Crawley’s major employment areas from inappropriately-located housing has been made by the borough council, following Government changes to permitted development rights.

At the moment, 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.

Concerns have been raised by the council and business community that residential developments in employment areas are having a negative impact on the operation of these areas and the supply of business land.

Manor Royal

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 was 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.

Atif Nawaz, cabinet member for planning and economic development, said: “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.”

The new Article 4 directions come into force today (August 1, 2022).

Article 4 directions are a planning tool that removes permitted development rights which would otherwise enable specified classes of alteration, or changes of use to be made to an existing building without the need for planning permission. Where an Article 4 direction is in place, planning permission is required to undertake the specified alteration or change of use.

Details of the Article 4 Directions can be viewed at: