Published: 17 January 2019

Watford Borough Council has introduced measures which will give the council more control over four key employment areas in the borough and is also pressing the government to protect high streets.

The new powers – called Article 4 Directions – mean that planning permission will now need to be granted for changes from employment to residential use. Further loss of employment land to residential use would mean the area could soon run out of enough employment land for prospective companies, investors and start-up businesses.

The introduction of an Article 4 Direction to cover the employment areas around Greycaine Road, Odhams and Sandown Road is a response to evidence from the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) that there is a shortage of employment floorspace in the county, including Watford.

The reduction of employment land in Watford has also encouraged the council to issue a strong response to government plans to give high street shops greater freedom to change from one use to another – including homes – without planning permission. The council has made it clear to government that in order to support our high streets and other employment areas, more planning control is needed, not less.

The Article 4 Direction came into force on Wednesday 16 January 2019. Within six months of this date, the council will confirm if the Direction will be in place for the long-term. The documents can be viewed online at:

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