Council vows to protect key employment areas in Dacorum from housing as up to 3,000 jobs already lost

Changes to planning rules mean some commercial premises don’t need planning permission to be converted to housing

Maylands Business Park
Maylands Business Park

Dacorum Borough Council has vowed to protect important employment areas after a change to planning rules meant they could be converted into housing without planning permission.

The change in rules impacts a range of commercial premises – including shops, cafes, gyms and other services – and the council says schemes already completed or approved since 2014 under the new rules are likely to mean up to 3,000 office jobs in Dacorum are lost.

Most of these job losses are occurring in the borough’s main employment areas including Maylands Business Park.

Now, amid fears that this is impacting the area’s ability to safeguard existing jobs, attract new businesses and provide local services, Dacorum Borough Council has taken steps to stop developments in their tracks.

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It has designated key employment areas as ‘Article 4’ areas – which reintroduced the need for planning permission for changes of use from office and other uses to houses or flats.

This protection is set to end on August 1, the the council is planning to extend that protection for Maylands Business Park; Doolittle Meadows, Hemel Hempstead; Park Lane, Hemel Hempstead; Northbridge Road and River Park, Berkhamsted and Icknield Way, Tring.

The council is inviting your comments on the plans. The deadline for comments is 11.59pm on September 2, and they can be made via email to r[email protected] or by post to the Strategic Planning Team, Dacorum Borough Council, The Forum, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead HP1 1DN.

Further information is available on the council’s website.