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What is an article 4?

Article 4 directions are made by the Local Planning Authority and restrict the scope of permitted development rights in relation to a particular area or site.

These are usually temporary orders unless confirmed. The effect of an Article 4 direction is to restrict the scope of permitted development rights either in relation to a particular area or site, or a certain type of development. They can be imposed anywhere in the authority’s area. When an article 4 direction is in effect, a planning application may be required for development that would otherwise have been permitted development (i.e. not usually requiring planning permission). Typically, this includes things like car parking, fences or walls, temporary structures or uses of land, and camping or caravan parks. They can also be used in historic areas to prevent the demolition of non-Listed buildings.

So, whilst many of these developments would not normally need planning permission, if an article 4 direction is in place, consent from the Local Planning Authority must be secured before any works can start. Government guidance is clear that local authorities should only make article 4 directions in exceptional circumstances where the exercise of permitted development rights would harm local amenity, the historic environment or the proper planning of the area. Therefore, if your land is subject to an article 4 direction, its imposition can be challenged if those exceptional circumstances cannot be demonstrated. Each Local Planning Authority is required to hold records of any Article 4 directions they have imposed and it is important to check what restrictions might be in place before purchasing any land.

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