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Article 4 – What's It All About?



What is Article 4?

An article 4 direction is made by the local planning authority. It restricts the scope of permitted development rights either in relation to a particular area or site, or a particular type of development anywhere in the authority’s area. Where an article 4 direction is in effect, a planning application may be required for development that would otherwise have been permitted development. Article 4 directions are used to control works that could threaten the character of an area of acknowledged importance, such as a conservation area.


According to Gov UK, “An article 4 direction is a direction under article 4 of the General Permitted Development Order which enables the Secretary of State or the local planning authority to withdraw specified permitted development rights across a defined area. An article 4 direction cannot be used to restrict changes between uses in the same use class of the Use Classes Order.”


Provided that there is justification for both its purpose and extent, an article 4 direction can:

• cover an area of any geographic size, from a specific site to a local authority-wide area

• remove specified permitted development rights related to operational development or change of use

• remove permitted development rights with temporary or permanent effect



When is it appropriate to use article 4 directions?

The use of article 4 directions to remove national permitted development rights should be limited to situations where this is necessary to protect local amenity or the wellbeing of the area. The potential harm that the direction is intended to address will need to be clearly identified, and there will need to be a particularly strong justification for the withdrawal of permitted development rights relating to:


• A wide area (eg those covering the entire area of a local planning authority, National Park or Area of Outstanding National Beauty)

• Agriculture and forestry development. Article 4 directions related to agriculture and forestry will need to demonstrate that permitted development rights pose a serious threat to areas or landscapes of exceptional beauty

• Cases where prior approval powers are available to control permitted development

• Leisure plots and uses

• The installation of microgeneration equipment



How does this effect property investment properties in Liverpool?

Last week, Liverpool City Council’s cabinet approved a recommendation that will limit the number of houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) in the inner core of the city. The decision will cover more than 60,000 homes.


The decision follows a two month long public consultation on the issue which showed 81% of people were in favour of the move. More than 850 people responded, with just 13% against the proposal.


Article 4 already exists in Liverpool in some areas; in 2018, it implemented an Article 4 Direction in the Dales area of Greenbank Ward, in south Liverpool, and this broader step across 11 council wards would follow a commitment made in Liverpool’s Draft Local Plan to utilise Article 4 to control smaller HMO development elsewhere in the city.


The new Article 4 Direction will apply to the following wards:

• Anfield

• Central

• Greenbank

• Kensington and Fairfield

• Picton

• Princess Park

• Riverside

• Tuebrook and Stoneycroft

• Wavertree


Part of the following electoral wards will also be included:

• Church

• Kirkdale


According to The Business Desk, “Over the past decade, Liverpool has seen a significant growth in the number of HMOs – with its booming student population and current housing benefit rules fuelling a demand for single person households. Fears have been expressed that the volume of HMOs has reached ‘a tipping point’, which is threatening the housing offer in the city for families and causing parking, anti-social behaviour and waste collection issues in certain neighbourhoods.


Currently, conversion of family houses into larger HMOs – seven bedrooms and above – must have planning permission, meaning that the council has some ability to influence where and how larger HMOs are developed. Now the city council will introduce the same rules across the inner core of the city for any new HMOs of less than seven bedrooms, from June 17, this year. The decision will have no impact on existing HMOs.



To summarise…

From 17th June, in the new Article 4 areas, Landlords and developers will not be able to convert any property in a HMO without planning permission.


HMO stands for House in Multiple Occupation. It is an accommodation that is owned by a private landlord and occupied by three or more people sharing common facilities like a bathroom and/or kitchen who form two or more 'households' -- a single person or members of the same family who live together (including couples).

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