Article 4: The (often) hidden restriction

Planning policies and legislation have seen numerous changes and amendments, with the primary goal of “streamlining the system” and removing complicated planning barriers to land and property owners.

With this goal in mind, notable changes include altering the use class order, with the introduction of Class E and the widening of development options for homeowners under permitted development rights (such as: Class AA for upward extensions).

To counter the National Government’s aspirations, some Local Planning Authorities have been taking advantage of Article 4 directions. This tool allows Councils to disapply, where appropriate, certain rights where they consider it to be a harm to their district/borough.

Whilst these rights can be applied by any Local Planning Authority, it is particularly prevalent in London Boroughs. To name a few examples from our experience:

  • HMO: At least 19 of the 32 boroughs have restrictions for residential to houses of multiple occupation
  • Office to residential: At least 24 of the 32 boroughs have restrictions for office/commercial to residential conversions
  • Class AA (upward extensions): Barking and Dagenham have adopted an article 4 for upward extensions in specific locations within the borough with Bromley and Hillingdon following swiftly.

What does this mean for property owners?

If you fall into one of the patchwork of article 4 directions, you will need to apply for planning permission in place of prior approval or a lawful development certificate.

However, Council’s cannot apply an article 4 direction until the permitted development right has been “made”. Article 4 directions are often taking several months to adopt, can require amendments or just be dropped by Councils, therefore providing further opportunities to apply for prior approval or a lawful development certificate.

Keeping up to date on changes and new article 4 directions can be a vital part of preparing a robust planning strategy for your property. This is something we routinely monitor in order to the provide up to date information for our clients.

Please contact Chris Moore on
or call 07990 656351 if you would like a free, no obligation review to see if these issues may be applicable to your property aspirations.