Immediate Article 4 Direction

big logo scene onlyZinc Building, Broadshires Way, Carterton

Since 30 May 2013, a change to government planning rules has meant that planning permission is not required to change the use of office buidlings to residential properties.

West Oxfordshire District Council is concerned about the impact that this will have on the area’s ability to retain existing businesses and jobs, providing an appropriate balance between employment opportunities and the provision of housing in the local area.

Change of use from offices to residential

West Oxfordshire District Council has given notice of the making of an immediate Article 4 Direction intended to remove the permitted development rights for change of use from offices (Class B1a) to dwellinghouses (Class C3).

Article 4 Directions

Some forms of development are called ‘permitted development’. This means that certain building works and changes of use can be carried out without having to make a planning application. At present, changes of use from offices (Class B1a) to dwellinghouses (Class C3)) are permitted development.

An Article 4 Direction (of the General Permitted Development Order) lets a local planning authority withdraw specified permitted development rights across a defined area. This particular Direction will bring the change of use from Office to Residential within the control of the planning process. The direction will come into force, subject to representations received through this consultation.

Why is this Article 4 Direction being introduced?

The Council has been approached both formally and informally by people wanting to apply the permitted development right to change offices to residential units on some of our key employment sites. The loss of office buildings and their change of use to residential uses are likely to have a series of economic and other consequences including:

  • Stifle local economic growth by reducing the availability of offices which are already in short supply
  • Create problems for businesses forced to vacate with no guarantee they will be able to find alternative premises in the area
  • Mean residential units may be created in potentially unsuitable locations
  • Mean residents may suffer unacceptable living conditions and would look to the Council to remedy the harms (e.g. through EPA powers) thereby adding to the costs and bureaucracy of remaining businesses
  • Reinforce adverse commuting patterns with a consequent impact on the highway network
  • Reduce the potential rateable income to the Council

Does an Article 4 Direction mean that development is not allowed?

An Article 4 Direction only means that a particular development cannot be carried out under permitted development and therefore needs a planning application. This gives the Council the opportunity to consider a proposal in more detail. It does not necessarily mean that permission will be refused.

Article 4  Direction Consultation

We would like your views on whether the making of this Article 4 Direction is appropriate.

You can respond to the consultation via the 'Zinc Building, Broadshires Way, Carterton' link below.


This consultation has now closed.


  • Opened
    29 Feb 2016 at 00:00
  • Closed
    31 Mar 2016 at 17:00