05 September 2013

Councillors are to introduce measures to protect office space in central Epsom, seen as a key employment area.

This action follows a temporary change in planning law, introduced by the government earlier this year, which has removed the need to obtain planning permission for change of use from office space to residential.

Epsom & Ewell Borough Council has made a direction under article 4(1) of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 as amended and the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2013 on the 22nd day of August 2013. The effect of the Article 4 Direction is to remove permitted development rights to change from B1 (office space) to C3 (residential use).

If agreed, the article 4 direction would apply to certain selected office sites in East Street, Epsom.

Councillor Michael Arthur, Chairman, Planning Policy Committee commented “This proposal is designed to give the Council control through the planning process to help protect certain existing offices that, although currently empty, are of specific importance to the Borough’s economy moving forward. The fear is that if we lose these buildings to residential use now, then the attraction of Epsom as a location for business in the future is substantially diminished”.

“We are between a rock and a hard place; the Borough needs more affordable housing however there is no guarantee that the conversions would be for affordable housing. We also need to maintain the economic vitality and viability of Epsom Town Centre as an employment destination”.

If the public have views on this approach they may make representations concerning the Article 4 Direction from the 22 August 2013 for a period of six weeks. Any representations must be made in writing and received by 4.30pm on 03 October 2013. Representations must be made either by email to ldf@epsom-ewell.gov.uk

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