Article 4 directions are issued by the council where specific control is needed, for example, places where new developments could threaten the overall character of the area, especially if it is an area which has been deemed to be of some importance, historically or otherwise. For this reason, you would see them applied to conservation areas more commonly.
The effect that this type of direction has on the area is to remove permitted development rights, so that you have to obtain full planning permissions from the local authorities before you can begin any building work. Article 4 directions are never are never put into place without being very carefully considered first. This is because the council may have to pay compensation to people who are looking to get any work done on their property, but were denied the planning permission to do so, who would otherwise have been able to do it under the permitted development rights.
These can increase the public protection of old buildings, buildings of interest and their settings. They are not necessary for works to listed buildings and scheduled monuments,, as listed building consent would cover all of the potential harmful works which would otherwise be allowed due to permitted development. They can, however, assist in the protection of all other heritage assets (especially conservation areas) and help with the protection of the setting of all heritage assets, including listed buildings. The aim of these directions is to secure the protection of high quality architectural features on buildings, and to control small scale works that may be of little concern elsewhere, but that would have a considerable impact on an area of special architectural and historic interest.
People who live in a conservation area which is covered by an article 4 direction will be notified by the council when such an order is introduced. When an article 4 direction is put into place, it does not necessarily prevent all alterations to the exterior of your property, however, it does ensure that proposed changes are in accordance with the objective of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the conservation area.
In Milton Keynes, there are currently two areas which have article 4 directions issued to them – they are Olney conservation area and Wolverton conservation area.
Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics.