Article 4 Directions

What is an Article 4 Direction?

An Article 4 Direction is a legal tool used by local planning authorities in the UK to restrict the scope of permitted development rights in specific areas. It is a provision under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015.

Permitted development rights allow certain types of development to proceed without the need for a full planning application. However, local authorities may use Article 4 Directions to remove or restrict these permitted development rights in certain areas, where they believe such development could have a detrimental impact on the character or amenity of the area.

For example, an Article 4 Direction might be implemented in a conservation area to preserve the historic character of the buildings or in a residential area to prevent the conversion of family homes into multiple flats or houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), without planning permission.

Once an Article 4 Direction is in place, any development that would have previously been considered permitted development within the designated area will require planning permission, giving the local authority more control over the type and scale of development.

Article 4 Directions and HMO Properties

In recent years, Article 4 has become increasingly relevant to HMO properties. HMOs are dwellings where three or more unrelated individuals live together and share common facilities, such as kitchens and bathrooms. The growing demand for affordable housing in the UK has led to a proliferation of HMOs in some areas, which can strain local resources, impact housing quality, and change the character of neighbourhoods.

By implementing an Article 4 Direction in relation to HMO conversions, local authorities can better manage issues such as noise, parking, waste disposal, and the overall balance of housing types within a neighbourhood.

Each proposed HMO conversion is assessed on a case-by-case basis and the local authority will make decisions that are in the best interests of the local area and its residents.

To avoid an over-concentration of HMOs in specific areas, Article 4 Directions can limit the number of HMOs that can be established within a certain radius and they can be used to enforce minimum room sizes, fire safety measures, and other standards to ensure HMOs are fit for purpose.

As the demand for HMO properties continues to rise, Article 4 Directions will remain a significant factor in the property market’s landscape.

How To Find An Article 4 Area?

The easiest way to find an Article 4 Area within a city is to look at the Local Authority’s website. Almost all Councils include an “Article 4 Map” in red where you can see which streets or boroughs are within Article 4 restrictions.

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