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Article 4 Direction covering the primary shopping area of Maidstone

Meeting: 07/12/2021 - Strategic Planning and Infrastructure Committee (Item 127)

127 Article 4 Direction covering the primary shopping area of Maidstone and the renewal of certain existing Article 4 Directions pdf icon PDF 299 KB

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The Head of Planning and Development introduced the report and highlighted the recent amalgamation of various building use classes, including retail, business and leisure, into ‘Use Class E’ which afforded landowners with Class MA permitted development rights.


It was proposed that a non-immediate Article 4 Direction be served across the primary shopping area of the Town Centre, to restrict the exercise of permitted development rights which allowed a change of use from Class E to residential use. Property owners would be required to submit prior a planning application. Furthermore, this area included eight of the fourteen office buildings that had previously been subject to an Article 4 direction. The remaining six office buildings would be covered by the implementation of separate non-immediate Article 4 direction’s, if agreed.


In relation to the quality of a building’s conversion through permitted development rights, it was noted that the conditions applied, such as transport and access, were general conditions that were applied nationally rather than taking into account the requirements of a specific local area.


The direction should be served within a small geographical area and be supported by a robust evidence base. As the core primary shopping area had been included within the 2017 adopted Local Plan, it was likely that the associated evidence base would be suitable to support the direction’s implementation.


The Committee expressed support for the proposal, to ensure that any conversions were of suitable quality. The importance of the Town Centre’s future prosperity, particularly in relation to the Town Centre Strategy currently being developed by the Council, was highlighted. 




1.  The six existing Article 4 directions be renewed by the serving of new non-immediate Article 4 directions that restrict Class MA permitted development;


2.  A non-immediate Article 4 direction be served on the ‘primary shopping area’ as defined by the adopted Local Plan; and


3.  Consideration be given to reviewing the hierarchy of development that will be in villages, starting with the smaller villages, finding the key services and considering the use of Article 4 directions for those key services within what were decided as sustainable locations.