Consultation on protection of employment sites at Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City and Cuffley
Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council will launch a consultation on whether to protect employment space at Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City and Cuffley sites.
Currently, office buildings can be converted into residential use without planning permission – leading to 27,000 sqm of office space in Welwyn Hatfield being lost since 2013.
The conversions, according to a report by a council committee, also mean normal planning rules surrounding affordable housing, infrastructure, education and healthcare do not apply.
WHBC Cllr Stephen Boulton, who is executive member for resources, said: “We all understand that we need new homes, but we must find a balance between delivering new housing and its impact on our business and wider community.
“We’re really fortunate to have such a buoyant local economy and for it to continue to grow and create new jobs, we need to retain good quality employment space for all sizes and types of business.”
Under a new plan, called the Article 4 Direction, sites in the Welwyn Garden City employment area, Hatfield Business Park and Bishop Square, Beaconsfield Road/Great North Road in Hatfield and Sopers Road Industrial Estate in Cuffley, would be protected.
The council is seeking the public’s view on the plan.