noted that Councillors Wilson, D Burton, Garten, Gooch and English
were present as visiting members for item 10. Review of Decision of
Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee:
Town Centre Article 4 Direction – Options.
Councillors Mortimer, Clark and Field disclosed that they had
been lobbied on item 10. Review of Decision of Strategic Planning,
Sustainability and Transportation Committee: Town Centre Article 4
Direction – Options.
To consider whether any items should be taken in private because of the possible disclosure of exempt information.
Councillors Wilson, Clark and Mortimer outlined their reasons
for referring the decision not to issue Article 4 Directions to
office blocks in the town centre to the Committee. The reasons
given were that the decision seemed to be taken solely on planning
grounds, without considering other issues related to office to
residential conversions under Permitted Development Rights, such as
a lack of developer contributions and the creation of poor quality
accommodation which was outside of the control of the Council in
its role as the Planning Authority. The outcome the Councillors
were seeking was a briefing session with members prior to the
Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee
re-taking the decision on issuing Article 4 Directions on town
centre office blocks. The Councillors who had referred the decision
were concerned that the decision had been taken too quickly without
enough time for member engagement. This had led to inadequate
consideration of the risks and potential costs of not issuing
Article 4 Directions. This was why they had requested a member
briefing before taking the decision again.
Councillors D Burton, Garten and Gooch addressed the Committee
as Visiting Members.
Committee considered the request to review the decision and made
the following comments:
Even if the Permitted Development Rights were
removed, the Council’s Officers and Planning Committee would
still have little control as Maidstone Borough Council had not
adopted minimum space standards and other Planning Policies that
controlled developments through the submission of a Planning
residential conversions wereonly
liable for Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) contributions if
they ended up with net additional floorspace. If an office block had been vacant for
more than 3 years it would be CIL liable even if the conversion
took place under the Prior Notification procedure rather than a
full Planning Application.
It was more appropriate to review the issuing of
Article 4 Directions through the Local Plan Review. This way,
policies covering Parking and Housing standards could also be
reviewed to give the Council further control over these
RESOLVED:That the decision of the Strategic Planning,
Sustainability and Transportation Committee is
Voting: For -
8Against - 7
Abstentions - 0
Councillor Gooch arrived during consideration of this item at 6.43
pm, but did not take her place on the Committee and instead spoke
as a Visiting Member.