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Manor Royal BID backs council move to stop offices being turned into homes
Manor Royal BID has written to Crawley Borough Council to show its support for a move to stop offices and warehouses being turned into housing without planning permission.
The local authority is hoping to introduce a mechanism, called an "Article 4 Direction", for Manor Royal that will allow the council to remove permitted development rights and ensure a greater level of control, according to the BID's executive director Steve Sawyer.
It comes after the government introduced new planning rules that allowed offices to be turned into homes without the need for planning permission. There is a fear that this will be extended to include warehouses and industrial buildings.
"It is the position of the Manor Royal Business District BID that the main use of this key employment area should be retained primarily for business operations falling in the B Use Classes," Mr Sawyer wrote in his letter to the borough council's senior planning officer.
"This has long been our position and we are supportive of the council's intent to introduce an Article 4 Direction for Manor Royal to safeguard land and premises from being converted for residential uses through the proposed permitted development rights process, including any extension of it.
"Allowing the conversation of commercial buildings through this process undermines the ambitions of the BID to promote Manor Royal as an excellent trading and working environment, as well as being inconsistent with the planning policies of the council itself.
"The availability of suitable land and premises to support the current demand and predicted economic growth is already limited. Recent developments have led to the loss of two notable buildings in the area, which has a potential consequence for what development and business activity might be allowed near to these new residential buildings in the future.
"Business needs certainty and the businesses of Manor Royal need to be certain that their trading environment is secure as a place of business and not vulnerable to inappropriate and uncontrolled development inconsistent with its primary function and vision for the area."