What is an Article 4 Direction and how it can impact your extension

What is an Article 4 DirectionUnder permitted development you are, as a homeowner, entitled to carry out certain works (including building an extension) without needing explicit planning consent. This is because said works are already prior-approved by the council so long as you stick to their planning rules.

However if an article 4 direction is active in an area, then it means some or all of these permitted development rights have been removed. Local authorities can use the power of an article 4 direction in a plethora of different ways that can directly impact upon your plans. Within Westminster City Council for instance, permitted development rights for basement developments have been removed, in Newham  Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) are not permitted, in Hillingdon though shall not extend to the rear by more than 4 meters. And so the list goes on. Each local authority has it’s own article 4 considerations that must be adhered to.

That said, an article 4 direction does not automatically mean your extension will be refused, but it does make obtaining planning consent less predictable. What it means for you is that instead of taking the permitted development route to getting your extension, where qualifying households are automatically allowed to build in compliance with the rules, you would instead need to ask for explicit consent to do so with a full-blown planning application.

As such your application will be subject to the rigours of your particular local authority’s supplementary planning guidelines, the design allowances of which are often less generous than one could expect under permitted development and are subject to scrutiny on many more aspect. 

An example of this may be a scenario where an article 4 direction forbids the building out of a dormer as part of a loft conversion, but would permit the insertion of sloping roof windows to facilitate a conversion of the attic space, but within the existing roofline of the property.

In summary an active article 4 direction does not necessarily prohibit the building of an extension, but does make doing so more capricious.

If you would like some free planning advice, get in touch with us.