Article 4 directions

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. It is used in situations where it is necessary to protect local amenity or the wellbeing of the area.


A list of current article 4 directions is available to view at the bottom of the page.

What can an article 4 direction do?

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

Can all permitted development rights be withdrawn by an article 4 direction?

Some permitted development rights cannot be removed via article 4 directions. These are set out in article 4(1) to (3) of the General Permitted Development Order. These exemptions are to ensure permitted development rights related to national concerns, safety, or maintenance work for existing facilities cannot be withdrawn.

Does an article 4 direction mean that development is not allowed?

An article 4 direction only means that a particular development cannot be carried out under permitted development and therefore needs a planning application. This gives a local planning authority the opportunity to consider a proposal in more detail.

Can article 4 direction be made where work has already started?

Article 4 directions cannot prevent development which has been commenced, or which has already been carried out.

What are the procedures for making an article 4 direction?

The procedures for making an article 4 direction are set out in article 5 of the General Permitted Development Order, and in article 6 for directions with immediate effect.

Can an article 4 direction be modified or cancelled?

A local planning authority can cancel an article 4 direction by making a subsequent direction. A direction can be modified by cancelling the existing direction and replacing it with a new one. In both cases the normal procedures for making an article 4 direction apply.

Can an article 4 direction remain in place permanently once it has been confirmed?

An article 4 direction can remain in place permanently once it has been confirmed. However, local planning authorities should regularly monitor any article 4 directions to make certain that the original reasons the direction was made remain valid. Where an article 4 direction is no longer necessary it should be cancelled.

Can an article 4 direction be used to withdraw permitted development rights for statutory undertakers?

In exceptional circumstances when an authority considers that normal planning controls should apply, article 4 directions can be used to withdraw permitted development rights for statutory undertakers, except if it is development which falls into article 4(2) or 4(3) of the General Permitted Development Order.

Related documents

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