Published Tuesday, 12 May 2020
An Article 4 Direction by Waverley Borough Council, designed to protect retail and commercial property has come into force in the commercial area around Godalming Station.
Under existing planning legislation, certain types of property – including shops, offices and premises used for light industry, warehousing or distribution – can be converted into residential housing under general permitted development rights set at the national level.
Councillors have responded to concern from residents that conversions are leading to a shortage of commercial space for businesses in the area. In addition, the resulting housing can often be out of character with the surrounding buildings, of poor quality and with little or no disabled access. Many residents have also expressed concerns that new residential dwellings are being created where there is insufficient infrastructure to support them.
Because a change of use under permitted development rights can be made without the requirement for express planning permission, there is often little the council can do to prevent or control the conversions.