Change of Use in the Commercial Quarter


From 30 May 2013, the General Permitted Development Order allowed vacant office space to change to dwellings without a full planning permission from the council.

Because of the substantial adverse economic impact this change would have on Ashford Town Centre and its emerging Commercial Quarter, the council successfully lobbied for the Commercial Quarter area to be excluded from the new legislation.

What the exemption covers

The exemption covers the land adjoining and including the domestic entrance to Ashford International Station, the land between Station Approach and Tannery Lane, Station Road and the River Stour, and three additional office buildings fronting Tannery Lane and the Station Road.

Download the exemption area map [pdf] 462KB.

The exemption area only covers a small part of Ashford town centre, which provides flexibility for underused office space to come forward for residential conversion in other areas of the town centre.

The land exempt from the Permitted Development Order is known as Article 2(5) land and is detailed within The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, in Part 3. The Amendment Order 2016 extended the period of exemption on this land until 30 May 2019.

When do I need to apply for planning permission?

Any conversions from office to residential use in this exemption area will therefore need full planning permission.

Details of the Planning Policy for the Commercial Quarter area can be found within the adopted Local Plan to 2030.