We don’t want housing on Manor Royal, says council

13 July 2015

Crawley Borough Council has taken steps to stop offices and warehouses being converted to housing in Manor Royal Business District.

The council’s Cabinet approved ‘non-immediate Article 4 Directions’ at its meeting on Wednesday (8 July), which would remove permitted development rights for the conversion of offices and warehouses to residential uses.

This would mean that developers would need full planning permission to change the use of buildings in the Business District. Currently a planning application is only necessary if the conversion will cause issues relating to transport, contamination or flooding.

Before the Article 4 Direction can be introduced a 12-month notification period and a three-month consultation, which both begin on 22 July, will be carried out.

Crawley has a scarcity of available employment land, with figures from the Employment Land Trajectory in February showing a deficit of 35 hectares.

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, said: “Employment land is at a premium in Crawley and the Manor Royal Business District is home to the vast majority of it.

“Protecting this area as a location for economic generation is vital to the future prosperity of the town.”

Steve Sawyer, Executive Director of Manor Royal Business District, said: “We are fully supportive of the council in looking to introduce an Article 4 direction for Manor Royal. As a Business Improvement District we have felt this is the right approach for some time.

“Allowing the unplanned conversion of commercial property for residential use undermines the Business District's primary role as an employment hub. Commercial land is in short supply and business needs certainty. This is the right thing to do.”

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