Protecting Hemel town centre

New planning rules mean shops can be converted into flats houses without planning permission

Recent changes in planning rules mean commercial premises such as shops, cafes and gyms could be converted to houses or flats without the need for planning permission and under the heading of permitted development.

Dacorum Borough Council is “particularly concerned” about the impact this could have on the main shopping area in Hemel Hempstead town centre.

They say it could lead to the loss of shops, cafes and gyms and other business premises, which provide services to the community.

The council is therefore making an ‘Article 4 Direction’ to protect the main parts of the town centre from the loss of such amenities to residential use.

The effect of the new direction will mean that permitted development rights will be waived and planning permission will continue to be required if there are proposals to convert commerical premises to residential use. This will leave the council in control of decision-making on important street-level premises.

The new direction come into force last and the council is inviting representations on it.

These may be made until on August 29. They can be sent by email to, or by post to the Strategic Planning Team, Dacorum Borough Council, The Forum, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1DN.

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