Last updated:2nd January 2019
In May 2013, national permitted development rights were amended to allow the change of use of offices (Class B1(a) use) to residential (Class C3 use) to be assessed through a ‘prior approval’ process rather than through the normal planning permission process. This means that a Council is only be able to consider a narrow range of specified issues when deciding whether to allow such a change of use. These issues do not include the contribution that the office plays to the local or to the wider economy, or to the character of the area.
The Council is not satisfied that such a system will allow it to carry out the proper planning of the area, within the central area of Bath. It is concerned that there has been, and will continue to be a significant loss of office premises in this area, notwithstanding the fact that there is no weakness in the office market itself, if the rules on conversion to residential remain relaxed. Losses of offices undermine the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan objectives to grow the number of jobs and office floorspace within this part of Bath.
The Council has made an Article 4 direction to remove these new permitted development rights in respect of office conversions to ensure that any such development will need to be considered through the normal planning application process and against the development policies in the Council’s local plan documents.
The existing Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan contain policies for the protection and development of office uses which apply to any development when planning permission is required. This also means that, where the loss of office space to homes is acceptable, the Council can seek affordable housing and other supporting infrastructure, as they would in respect of any other proposed development, whilst ensuring that a good standard of residential accommodation is secured.
The consultation on this Article 4 Direction closed on 17th May 2018.
The Council will consider any representations received before deciding if the Article 4 Direction should be confirmed. Accordingly, subject to consideration of representations, the Direction, if confirmed, will come into force on 24th May 2019.
- The Article 4 Direction
- Article 4 Direction - Notice of Making
- This is the statutory notice of the non-immediate Article 4 direction to remove the forthcoming permitted development rights for change of use from offices to residential.
- Article 4 Direction – Single Member Decision Report
- The report approved by the Leader of the Council at the time to make the Article 4 Direction to remove permitted development rights for changes of use from offices to residential within the defined area. The report contains Attachment 1 – the proposed boundary of the Article 4 Direction
- Ortus Report: The Impact of the Loss of Office Space in Central Bath
- Evidence to inform the Article 4 Direction to restrict the future relaxation of planning regulations to allow changes of use from offices to residential, Ortus, (July 2017)
- MS Word Response Form