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Article 4Article 4 Directions

The GPDO allows many forms of development to be carried out often without any notification required to the local authority. However the local authority can withdraw some permitted development rights via an Article 4 Direction.

This is allowed for in Schedule 3 – Procedures for Article 4 Directions.

Conservation Areas

This is the most common for an Article 4 Direction where the local authority will control what you can and can’t do to a property in a conservation area. The purpose being to protect the look of the buildings by restricting repainting of the house, erecting fences, satellite dishes etc. It doesn’t mean that these items can’t be done, but planning permission would be required. It is important to check what is restricted as some items may not be included. This can affect a single property or more commonly a large number.


The conversion of single dwellings to small HMOs is allowed under permitted development by Schedule 2, Part 3 Class L – however in many towns local authorities are restricting HMOs by virtue of an Article 4 Direction. This means that you will require planning permission to convert a flat or house to an HMO. It does not mean that it is impossible however. The local authority is trying to prevent a large number of these in one area or street. Always check to see which streets are included or even which side of a street is included as the house opposite might not have any restrictions. It is worth considering that Class L also allows for the changing of an HMO to a residential dwelling. This is usually not blocked via an Article 4. Therefore if the number of occupants drops to two, then strictly speaking it will revert to a C3 dwelling, which might then not be able to to revert to a C4 due to the Article 4. This might be a problem over a prolonged period rather than a matter of days.


In more recent times local authorities have used Article 4 Directions to restrict Class O office to residential. As with other Article 4 Directions it will usually be restricted to certain zones or areas. These might be an industrial park or maybe the town centre, Check with the local authority as to which areas or roads are included. Once again this does not mean that conversions are not possible, it simply means that planning permission will be required.

Can anything be restricted via an Article 4 Direction?

In a word, yes. Anything from the GPDO could be restricted via an Article 4 Direction. it is not limited to any of the three examples above. Always check to see what the local authority is restricting and where.

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