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Watford Borough Council introduces new measures to protect employment space

To protect employment land, Watford Borough Council has introduced measures which will give them more control over 12 key locations in the borough.

The new powers - called Article 4 Directions - mean that planning permission will now need to be granted for changes from employment to residential use in these key locations, instead of allowing these changes to happen through Permitted Development Rights. This is to ensure they remain as vital locations for businesses and jobs in Watford.

Further loss of employment land to residential use would mean the town could soon run out of enough employment land for prospective companies, investors and start-up businesses. This is shown in evidence from the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) which shows there is a shortage of employment floorspace in the county, including Watford. The protected areas include:

· Clarendon Road Primary Office Location

· Greycaine Road, Odhams and Sandown Road

· Imperial Way, Colonial Way and Holly Industrial Estate

· Shakespeare Road

· Watford Business Park

· Wiggenhall Road, Fishers Industrial Estate and Trade City.

* There are 12 distinct Article 4 Directions being sought, but they have been grouped into 6 areas as per the bullet points above.

The newly adopted local plan contains policies to support our high streets and allow the local economy to grow by protecting land for uses such as retail, leisure and employment. It also sets out how and where the council expects land for new residential properties to come from.

The Article 4 Direction came into force on Wednesday 14 June 2023. Within six months of this date, the council will confirm if the Direction will be in place for the long-term. You can have your say on the Article 4 Direction until 12 July by emailing or writing to Planning Policy, Watford Borough Council, Town Hall, Watford, Hertfordshire WD17 3EX.

The documents can be viewed online at:

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