New planning rule to protect our local shopping parades and commercial areas

A new planning policy for Brighton & Hove, aimed at preventing shopping areas from disappearing, will come into force on 10 February 2023.

The policy removes the automatic right of owners of commercial premises, including offices, shops, restaurants and cafes, to change them to residential use without the need for planning permission.

The change applies to specific areas of the city.

Change in national regulations

The new rule, known as an “Article 4 Direction”, was required following a government decision to introduce national “permitted development rights”. These gave owners of a wide range of commercial premises permission to change them to residential use, such as houses or flats, if they wanted to.

Permitted development means that an owner can make certain changes to their property without needing to apply to the council for planning permission.


Following discussion of the introduction of an Article 4 Direction at the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture committee (TECC) early last year, a consultation took place between 31 January and 14 March 2022. Thirty-nine responses were received, of which 29 were in favour, five were neutral and there were five objections.

At its meeting on 12 January 2023 the TECC committee agreed that the permitted development rights could result in an unacceptable negative impact on shopping and office areas in the city and that a Direction should be put in place.

The City Plan Part 2, which was adopted last year, includes policies to help prevent neighbourhood shops from disappearing, by restricting the change of use of shops in important local parades. The Article 4 Direction agreed by the TECC committee will help deliver these policies.

Considering planning applications

The Direction does not mean that all planning applications for a change of use will be refused. It requires the submission of an application for consideration by the Planning Committee, who determine applications on their merits and by how well they fit with our planning policies.

Premises affected

The Article 4 Direction applies to Class E commercial, business and service premises including offices, retail, restaurants and cafes, indoor sport facilities and some healthcare facilities. It must be agreed by the government’s Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, who decide which areas and roads the Direction will apply to.

We sought to protect as wide an area of the city as possible, and the Department has agreed that it will apply to sites in 32 locations across the city.

A full map of the sites affected by this Article 4 Direction can be found on our website. The Direction does not apply to any land outside the areas outlined.

A city working for all

Councillor Martin Osborne, Co-chair of Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture Committee, said: “City Plan Part Two supports the council’s priority for a ‘City Working for all’ by establishing planning and development policies that will support our economy and high streets.

“Local commercial centres and local shopping parades are important for the sustainability of our neighbourhoods. They provide easily accessible shops and services which can reduce the need for residents to make longer journeys into larger centres.

“Reducing the need to travel is particularly important for more vulnerable residents and those without access to a car.

“Protecting local shopping parades helps prevent increases in traffic movements and congestion and negative effects on air quality. The Article 4 Direction will contribute towards our zero-carbon goal and support the council’s ’20-minute neighbourhood’ initiative.”

More information and locations covered by the Article 4 Direction

More information about the Article 4 Direction can be found in the Planning section of our website.

You can also view the maps showing the modified areas covered by the Article 4 Direction. Those areas are:

  • The Lanes, North Street and West Street
  • Western Road
  • North Laine and Queens Road
  • The New England Quarter and London Road
  • Preston Road
  • St James Street, Edward Street and Circus Street
  • Lewes Road
  • Hove Town Centre
  • Boundary Road and Station Road
  • Beaconsfield Road
  • Brunswick Town
  • Eldred Avenue
  • Fiveways and Hollingbury Place
  • Old London Road and Ladies Mile Road
  • Longridge Avenue
  • Lustrells Vale
  • Mill Lane
  • Portland Road and Richardson Road
  • Rottingdean High Street
  • Seven Dials
  • St George’s Road
  • The Grenadier
  • Warren Way and Warren Road
  • Whitehawk Road
  • Cowley Drive
  • Goldstone Villas and Hove Park Villas)
  • Islingword Road
  • The junction of Old Shoreham Road and Sackville Road
  • Preston Drove
  • Valley Road
  • Victoria Terrace, and
  • Woodland Parade.