Planning permission needed for housing on Manor Royal

01 August 2016

Crawley Borough Council’s attempt to stop offices and storage and distribution warehouses in the Manor Royal Business District being converted to housing without planning permission has been successful.

The removal of permitted development rights, which allow the conversion from certain property uses to housing without planning permission, follows concerns raised by the council and business community that residential development in Manor Royal is having a negative impact on its operation as a main employment area.

The council also had concerns about the quality of life for anyone living in the 24-hour business district, which can be a noisy, busy place and doesn’t have the supporting facilities found in the town’s residential neighbourhoods.

Crawley has a scarcity of available employment land, with figures from the council’s Local Plan showing a deficit of 35 hectares.

In July 2015, the council’s Cabinet approved the ‘non-immediate Article 4 Directions’, which would remove permitted development rights for the conversion of offices and warehouses to residential uses in Manor Royal.

Before the directions could be introduced a 12-month notification period and a three-month consultation had to be carried out. These have now been completed and the directions come into force today (Friday 29 July).

The decision to proceed has been actively supported by business groups and representatives, including Coast to Capital LEP, Gatwick Diamond Initiative, Gatwick Diamond Business, Manor Royal BID, Crawley Local Economy Action Group, Gatwick Airport Limited and Manor Royal businesses. 

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

“Loss of business space to residential use erodes the town’s already limited supply of employment land and undermines the overall function of Manor Royal Business District.

“The council is building more housing and wishes to encourage more quality housing in Crawley, but this cannot now be done by taking away precious land in Manor Royal that is needed for employment.

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to protect the area’s primary use as a major economic hub."

Steve Sawyer, Executive Director of Manor Royal Business District, said: “We are delighted with this outcome. The primary use of the Manor Royal Business District is for business and that should be protected for the benefit of Manor Royal and the good of the local and regional economy.

“The council has done the right thing – they have listened and responded by taking the right action. We look forward to more positive outcomes as part of the constructive partnership we have formed.”

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