Committed to protecting office space in the city

Published on Monday, 6th June 2022

Plans to help manage the number of offices in the city being turned into residential properties are to be reviewed after government feedback.

In July 2021, Norwich City Council made an Article 4 Direction to remove permitted development rights for the conversion of offices to residential premises within the city centre. However, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is now calling for the council to review the geographic area that the Direction will be applied to.

Councillor Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said:

“We remain committed to protecting the city’s office space so that Norwich’s economy continues to thrive and enable our residents and businesses to flourish in an office environment.

“The council plan to take a more targeted geographical approach rather than applying it to the whole of the city centre, which will mean that we can protect those offices of strategic value and allow truly redundant stock to be converted following approval.”

The council plan to meet with representatives from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to discuss how best to revise the Article 4 Direction to reduce the risk of further objections and will need to collate further evidence to identify the streets or specific office buildings that need protecting.

While an Article 4 Direction would not prevent all offices being changed into residential properties, it would give the city council more control over any proposed changes.

For more information visit the Article 4 webpage.

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