Fight to keep office space
PUBLISHED: 08:00 30 January 2015
COMMUNITY leaders in Portishead have vowed to continue fighting for protection for office space near the marina to ensure it cannot be turned into more housing.
A request was made to North Somerset Council last year for an Article Four Direction for the area, which would make it harder for such changes to be made. But, the authority has so far not supported the idea.
Over the past decade, thousands of new homes have been built in the town. Residents have long been calling for a halt and town councillors have made it clear to planners they will not support more housing developments.
Last year the Government made changes to permitted development rights which would allow the conversion of office space into a residential dwelling without the need for full planning consent.
When the master plan for Portishead’s marina development was created it was agreed on the basis there should also be more employment facilities to help to reduce out-commuting.
However, the relaxation of permitted development rights means Portishead could lose some of this valuable employment space – prompting the town council’s request for an Article Four Direction which would restrict these rights.
This has not yet happened as the unitary authority has raised concerns about the possibility of having to pay compensation to developers if such a direction is made.
At a town council meeting on January 21, members vowed to continue fighting for a direction to be made.
Cllr John Clark said: “It would be easy to say we will go along with this but we have a responsibility for making decisions that will outlast use for generations. It is important we get this right.
“We should be fighting long-term for the community.”
Councillors voted in favour of writing to the unitary authority again.