Kingston strengthens its protection of shops

More extensive planning controls to protect shops from being converted into housing has been confirmed and will take effect from 1 August 2022.

These controls mean that a planning application will need to be submitted to convert any commercial space or shop into housing, in key areas in the borough. This doesn't mean that all conversion will be stopped, only that it will need specific permission to go ahead.

A consultation took place last year, in which a clear majority supported the protection of Kingston’s commercial spaces, and a report was taken to the council’s Place Committee, In November. The council is now able to confirm that the planning control, called an  Article 4 Direction, will come into effect on 1 August 2022.

The borough's existing planning controls, protecting offices from changing use to residential use, expires on 31 July 2022. 

Cllr Roger Hayes, Portfolio Holder for Planning Policy and Community Engagement, said:

“Our town centres and shopping parades are an important part of our local community and local economy, which was brought to light even more during the pandemic. By taking this action and extending the protection to include more sites across the borough, ranging from high streets to small local hubs, we will be safeguarding them from development, enhancing our neighbourhoods and protecting jobs.”

The areas covered by the new Article 4 Direction are the boroughs' main town centres, local centres and industrial areas. For more details and a full list and maps of the areas covered visit

Further analysis of the areas and boundaries covered by the Direction is currently taking place, as requested by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). This is likely to result in changes to the areas or boundaries covered. If there are any modifications the DLUHC will issue a Modification Notice to the council. 

Published: 28th July 2022