A London council has taken the unique step to place a planning restriction on miles of railway arches to try and prevent them being turned into housing.
Southwark Council is using Article 4 Directions to stop would-be developers turning various shops, offices, storage or betting offices that are currently trading out of the 800 plus arches around the borough into homes – without having to go through planning permission. The Article 4 will also extend to arches being used for “light industrial” (class B1c) when that comes into affect from October next year.
The move came after recent case where the council became aware that an arch in Walworth was set to be turned into homes through permitted development rights, which allow premises that were being used as storage/warehouses to be converted into residential without planning permission.
The proposals were approved at the council’s planning committee and more details can be found online.
Cllr Mark Williams, cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said:
“The railway arches around Southwark have such great potential to be turned into busy, thriving shops, workshops, cafes or community facilities that draw people down into the borough.
In Elephant and Castle in particular we have a vision of creating a ‘low line’ or series of shops and cafes in the arches that people can walk down from the river to our new town centre at the Elephant.
Putting homes in these arches will have a direct impact on the surrounding communities as well as being wholly unsuitable locations for people to live, and the council just wants to make sure that any such proposals receive the proper consultation and consideration they should have.”