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What is Article 4 of Permitted Development


There are several home development and improvement works that you can do based on the General Permitted Development Order. But are there any restrictions? Can the local authorities limit these rights? The answer to these questions is Article 4 Directions.

Everything You Need to Know About Article 4 Directionsgroup-people-working-website-template

If you are looking to make some improvements that will add value to your home before you sell it, you should make sure that your area is not affected by any Article 4 Direction restrictions. To save you time, our estate agents have put together a comprehensive list of applicable limitations.

What Is Permitted Development?


The General Permitted Development Order (known in short as GPDO) allows developers to carry out certain property extension or improvement works without requiring planning permission. The GDPO comprises works that are considered to not have an unacceptable impact either due to their scale or their type. In such cases, developers are only required to follow the applicable planning and building rules.

GPDO 2015 sets out all the classes of development for which no planning permission is required, as well as related limitations.

What Is Article 4?

Article 4 Directions act as exceptions to the GDPO. Explicitly, local councils and local planning authorities can issue an Article 4 Direction whereby they can withdraw certain permitted development rights for specific areas or sites. These directions normally don’t apply to one property, but several properties or sections of streets in a certain zone. The purpose of this exception is to protect conservation areas or areas like national parks that have exceptional character and in which uncontrolled works could threaten the area’s overall personality.

Article 4 directions commonly apply to conservation areas especially when they are densely populated and have a historic character. The works that are restricted under Article 4 Directions refer to extensions, improvements, or modifications of a dwelling, or its façade and gates, or the installation of satellite dishes.

Once an Article 4 Direction is issued by a local council, the previous permitted development rights are removed and a planning application is required for any new developments.

When a local authority issues an Article 4 Direction, it does not mean that any previously permitted development is to be denied. It only means that any extension or improvement restricted based on the said direction will take a longer time because it will have to go through the procedure of obtaining planning consent. Therefore, your project will have to undergo the scrutiny of the local authority and their planning guidelines and design allowances.

Of course, this type of restriction is not very widespread, and local councils put a lot of thought into the opportunity of issuing an Article 4 Direction. Especially considering the housing shortage in popular areas. In some cases, they also need to consider the fact that they may have to compensate landowners who are denied planning permission where they otherwise would have been granted permitted development rights.

In addition, Article 4 Directions don’t necessarily apply to all permitted development classifications. House extensions in your area may not be allowed. But sheds or garage extensions could still be. So, if you are worried you may be in a situation where a planning condition may apply, check with local authorities to make sure.

What Type of Areas or Properties Can Article 4 Directions Apply To?

Conservation Areas

Conservation areas are the most common areas where you will find Article 4 Directions issued by local councils. These areas have particular characteristics that the local authorities aim to preserve and protect from uncontrolled development.

In general, restrictions and limitations include the overall look of the building. Things like the façade, or the windows and fences, installation of satellite dishes. Limitations can apply to an individual property, several, a larger area, or only some types of works. The application of an Article 4 Direction does not mean you can’t do anything to a property. It only means that you will need to apply for planning permission and this will limit the types of works you can do and the way in which you can do them.


If you want to convert an individual dwelling into an HMO you are normally allowed to do so under permitted development (according to Schedule 2, Part 3 Class L). Still, in towns where local authorities are looking to protect the character of certain areas, they are making use of the provisions of Article 4 Directions to restrict these conversions. Nevertheless, areas with permitted development restrictions are usually small. They regard either a small neighbourhood or part of a street. In some cases, it may even be that an Article 4 Direction applies to one side of the street and not the other. The best thing to do is check with your local council to see which streets or areas are included, if any.


Local authorities have used Article 4 Directions more often recently. They aim to control the conversion of Class O properties from office to residential. However, although these limitations have been more widespread lately, they usually don’t regard large areas or entire streets but certain areas like industrial parks or zones in town centres.

If you are interested in making such a conversion, you should check what local regulations and restrictions apply and if there are any Article 4 Directions in force.

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