Planning Consultant - Chris Scott
Hi, I’m Chris,
I hold an MA in Planning and work as a Planning Consultant

If you have read any of my previous posts on permitted development rights, you may have come across several references to the Article 4 Direction. With this post, I will discuss what an Article 4 Direction is and why it’s important.

Under permitted development (PD) rights many dwellings can be modified and extended. However, it is important to conduct a planning history review for a property to check PD rights have not been previously removed. In some cases, for instance, a local planning authority with the approval of planning permission for works may remove some PD rights.

What is an Article 4 Direction?

In many cases, you can carry out works to a dwelling under permitted development rights without having to apply for planning permission. Such works could include:

The above is just a small sample of the potential works which can be completed under the General Permitted Development Order 2015 (GPDO). However, there is a scenario where much of the works above would not come under permitted development. They would require a planning application, typically a householder planning application. That is if the area in which the property is located is subject to an Article 4 Direction. The direction can do the following:

  • Cover a specific geographic area or wider local area
  • Remove specific PD rights for development or change of use
  • PD rights may be removed with either permanent or temporary effect

What is its Purpose of an Article 4 Direction?

The purpose is to either protect the historic character or to preserve the local amenity and wellbeing of an area. To increase the protection of designated and non-designated heritage assets. Article 4 directions give the local planning authority the ability to control development which could be inappropriate in a specific area.

Does an A4 Direction mean the restricted works are automatically inappropriate?

Not necessarily, the Article 4 direction just means the works themselves cannot be completed without a formal planning application. Therefore, it gives the local planning authority more control over development. Any proposals need to show that they are appropriate and sympathetic to the character of the conservation area.

What areas come under an A4 Direction?

As Article 4 Directions are designed to control works in areas of acknowledged importance. Therefore the area must be recognised in some form. If an area is protected as a Conservation Area, this designation means an Article 4 Direction can be placed on that geographic area. For instance, an Article 4 Direction can remove demolition rights which are currently granted under the GDPO (Part 11). To typically maintain and protect the historic character of the conservation area.

Listed buildings and scheduled accident moments do not require protection under an Article 4 Direction. The reason being that these heritage assets are already protected via Listed Building Consent and scheduled Accident Moment Concent respectively.

Conservation Areas – Article 2 (3) Land

Under the GDPO conservation areas are classified as Article 2 (3) land. Article 2 (3) land also includes areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), National Parks and World Heritage Sites. Due to Article 2 (3) classification, there are works which cannot be completed under PD even without a specific Article 4 Direction, which include:

  • Dormer windows on any elevation
  • Side extensions or rear two storey extensions
  • Larger home rear extensions
  • Cladding
  • Boundary works over 1m
  • Satellite dishes on the front elevation
  • Electric car charging points on the front elevation
  • Additional restrictions on outbuildings

There are also scenarios where the rules are different for domestic and none domestic properties within Article 2 (3) land. For instance, a domestic property can install solar PV panels on its front elevation under PD where a none-domestic property cannot. However, as with most PD rights, the above is only applicable to buildings deemed to be within the curtilage of the dwelling.

How to check if your property is subject to an A4 Direction?

Most local planning authorities now provide a considerable range of online services to review planning applications and planning policies. Most provide an interactive planning map where you can enter your postcode and view the local planning policies that apply. You can normally turn on an Article 4 Direction filter which will show the geographic area covered by a particular Article 4 direction.

Article 4 Direction Leek
Example – Here is a screenshot from the SMDC website showing the Article 4 Direction which covers the historic market town of Leek.

You should be able to click on a link to open up the specific documents which state the specific criteria of the Article 4 Direction. It’s always important to read the terms thoroughly as each Article 4 Direction is different. Some are a sweeping removal of PD rights, where others are more selective.

Can the Restrictions Change?

Yes, due to changes in national planning policy and the GDPO the local planning authority may choose to amend the restrictions. This would be done by cancelling the existing restriction and placing a new one. Typically the directions are permanent unless stated otherwise. Though the government encourages local planning authorities to review the restriction. If deemed not necessary they should be cancelled.

Can an Article 4 Direction remove all PD rights?

While an Article 4 Direction can remove all of the more significant development works under PD rights, they cannot remove PD rights in their entirety. For instance, under article 4(1) and (3) of the GDPO certain safety and maintenance works remain for all properties. When it comes to maintenance and repair original features such as doors and windows must be kept and maintained or replaced like for like.

Do you have to pay a fee for a householder application to cover works restricted under an Article 4 Direction otherwise allowed under PD?

Official government guidance states yes, you have to pay for the householder application covering the proposed works. However, some local authorities (West Suffolk) state a fee is not required. I believe in most cases your local authority will expect a fee to be paid for the householder application. As of this moment (July, 2019), the fee is £206.

Article 4 Directions and HMO’s

HMO is a house of multiple occupation. There is a lot of debate and controversy around HMO’s and poor living standards. There are permitted development rules which allow for change of use applications to HMO’s. This has led to some council (Manchester is an example) to issue Article 4 directions over their geographic areas to remove HMO permitted development rights.

Conclusion on Article 4 Directions

If your property is located in a conservation area and subject to an article 4 direction you have to be careful proceeding with works under PD. If you believe you may be able to carry our some works under PD without a planning application you could consider a lawful development certificate (LDC).

Please get in touch if you require assistance in preparing or submitting an LDC. Also, if you wish to discuss works to your property for which a planning application would be required.