Business first in Manor Royal

16 October 2017

Commercial premises in Manor Royal Business District cannot be converted to housing without planning permission, following Crawley Borough Council’s successful attempt to remove permitted development rights.

The removal of these rights, which allow the conversion of units from light industrial use 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.

Last year the council’s attempt to stop offices and storage and distribution warehouses in the business district being converted to housing without planning was also successful.

This means that planning permission will now have to be applied for any proposed change of use from light industrial premises to housing in Manor Royal.

The council 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.

Last October, the council’s Cabinet approved the ‘non-immediate Article 4 Direction’. However, before it could be introduced a 12-month notification period and a three-month consultation had to be carried out.

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development, said: “Employment land is at a premium in Crawley with the Local Plan showing a shortage of 35 hectares.

“The council aims to create more housing in the town but, working with the support of the Manor Royal business district, wishes to keep Manor Royal as a hub for business and employment. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to achieve this by adding to the two directions that are already in force in Manor Royal.”

Steve Sawyer, Executive Director of Manor Royal Business District, said: “We fully endorse and encourage the actions of the council to protect Manor Royal as a place for business. To allow commercial buildings to be converted in an unplanned way - as permitted development does – undermines its vital job generating and economic role. It also undermines the New Town principles upon which Crawley has prospered.

“Manor Royal is called a business district for a reason. We want it to stay that way and we are pleased the council does too.

The direction will come into force on 16 October and has been actively supported by business groups and representatives, including Gatwick Diamond Initiative, Gatwick Diamond Business Association, Manor Royal BID and Gatwick Airport Limited.

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