Non-immediate Article 4 direction: Office to Residential

In May 2013, national permitted development rights were amended to allow the change of use of offices (Class B1(c) use) to residential (Class C3 use) to be assessed through a ‘prior approval’ process rather than through the normal planning permission process.

Councils were given an opportunity to make representations to the Government to explain why they should be exempted from these reforms. The Council was successful in securing such an exemption, and to date, planning permission continues to be required for such a change of use across the borough.

Details of the exemption can be viewed here.

On 6 April 2016 the Government enacted a statutory instrument  which will amend The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (‘GPDO’).  This amendment means that come 31 May 2019 boroughs’ exemptions to the 2013 liberalisation will be removed and that a Council will ordinarily have to rely on a system of prior approval when assessing such changes of use. This would mean that a Council would only be able to consider a narrow range of specified  issues when deciding whether to allow such a change of use. These issues do not include the contribution that the office plays to the local or to the wider economy or to the character of the area.

The Council is not satisfied that such a system will allow it to carry out the proper planning of the area, and is concerned that it would result in a significant loss of office premises. This loss would be a reflection in the differential in value between office and residential uses rather than any weakness in the office market itself.

In order to ensure that planning permission will continue to be required and maintain the status quo the Council has made a borough-wide Article 4 direction.

The existing and emerging new Local Plan contain policies for the protection and development of office uses which apply to any development when permission is required. The Local Plan Partial Review contains ambitious proposals to increase the housing target in the Local Plan from 585 new homes per year to 733 new homes per year to ensure that both the jobs and homes that the borough needs can be delivered in a sustainable way. Ensuring that planning permission continues to be required means that the Council can continue to seek affordable housing and supporting infrastructure as well as securing a good standard of residential accommodation.

The Council would like to hear your views on whether an Article 4 Direction would be appropriate. The Council is consulting on this Article 4 Direction for six weeks, starting from Tuesday 12 September to 11.59 pm on Tuesday 24 October 2017.

The Council will consider any representations received before deciding whether to confirm the Article 4 direction. This confirmation must take place at least a year hence, if the Council is not to be liable for the payment of any compensation associated with the removal of the permitted development right. As such, subject to consideration of representations, the Direction will come into force on 31 May 2019.

How to respond

  • Online: You can submit your views via this on-line response form
  • Email: Alternatively you can complete a Word version of the response form and email it to
  • Post: You may also send a printed version of the Word response form by post. Please address these to the Planning Policy Team, Planning and Borough Development, The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, London, W8 7NX

Whether using email or post please put the following reference on your representation. “Representation for the Non-immediate Article 4 – Office Uses.”

Any representation must be received by the Council by 11.59 pm on 24 October 2017.

This consultation has now closed.


  • Opened
    12 Sep 2017 at 16:00
  • Closed
    24 Oct 2017 at 23:59