Article 4 Direction - West Oxon Business Sites

Change of use from offices to residentialbig logo scene only

West Oxfordshire District Council has given notice of the making of a non-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, on 24 March 2017.

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.

The Article 4 Direction

The Article 4 Direction, with a schedule of sites to which it is applicable, is available to download below.

How can I comment?

Representations concerning the Article 4 Direction can be made until 28 April 2016.

  • You can make comments by using 'Location of Sites in West Oxfordshire' link below
  • By e-mail to
  • By post to: West Oxfordshire District Council, Planning and Strategic Housing Service, Elmfield, New Yatt Road, Witney OX28 1PB.

All comments must be received by 5pm on 28 April 2016

The Article 4 Direction will come into force, subject to confirmation by West Oxfordshire District Council, on 24 March 2017

The council’s existing Article 4 Directions are still relevant and remain extant.

This consultation has now closed.


  • Opened
    24 Mar 2016 at 00:00
  • Closed
    5 May 2016 at 23:59

Consultation Documents