Changes to planning rules to protect employment areas

Recent changes in planning rules mean that changes of use from office, light industrial or warehouse use to houses or flats does not require planning permission.

Such schemes already completed or approved since 2014 under these new rules are likely to result in the loss up to 3,000 office jobs in Dacorum. Most of these job losses are occurring in our main employment areas including Maylands Business Park and Hemel Hempstead town centre.

Consequently, we're concerned about the impact that this is having in the area to retain existing businesses and jobs, attract new businesses and jobs, and to provide services locally for Dacorum’s residents, workers and visitors.

In January this year, we proposed to reintroduce the need for planning permission in key employment areas for the changes of use from office, light industrial or warehouse use to houses or flats by designating the following locations as Article 4 areas:

  • Maylands Business Park
  • Doolittle Meadows, Hemel Hempstead
  • Whiteleaf Road, Hemel Hempstead
  • Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead
  • Bourne End Mills, Bourne End
  • Northbridge Road and River Park, Berkhamsted
  • Icknield Way, Tring.

We carried out a consultation on the proposal, which ended on 18 February 2019. Following consideration of the responses received we have decided to confirm those locations as Article 4 areas and they will come into force on 7 January 2020.

You can find more information on our Article 4 directions - employment areas page.


Certain types of changes of use of buildings do not require full planning permission from us. These forms of development are called permitted development. An Article 4 direction is a special planning regulation adopted by a local planning authority in all or part of its borough. It operates by removing permitted development rights from whatever is specified in the Article 4 direction.

The effect of these Article 4 directions is that planning permission is required for these developments that would otherwise not require an application for planning permission.

This enables the council to consider these developments through the planning process so as to ensure that they accord with its policies to improve the local environment, protect businesses or any other issues.