Conservation Areas - Article 4(2) Direction

Some unlisted buildings within Conservation Areas have been considered important enough for the application of a direction under Article 4(2) of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order.

If a building has been included under such a direction, the owner will find it necessary to apply for planning permission for most external alterations.

In Conservation Areas, many alterations to houses are ‘permitted development’ and do not require planning permission. Many small scale alterations to windows, doors, roofs, boundary walls etc still do not require permission. Individually many of these changes are fairly minor but added together they begin to have a marked effect on the appearance of conservation areas. This resulted in a national problem where the character and appearance of many conservation areas was being compromised by the cumulative effect of a series of small changes.

Article 4(2) directions were introduced to help address this issue. They generally only apply to elevations fronting a highway. Work to rear elevations does not require permission and normal permitted development rights apply to rear extensions. Following a change in the interpretation of the law relating to demolition, work to boundary walls has been included in the more recent Directions. They  only apply to houses and not flats, or other commercial properties.

Once an Article 4(2) Direction has been made, planning permission becomes necessary for changes but it does not affect:

  • repairs or maintenance
  • like for like replacement
  • any alterations which have already taken place
  • painting or decoration (except of previously unpainted brickwork) 

No fee is payable for planning applications made solely on account of an Article 4 Direction.

What can be included

The details of Article 4(2) Directions varies between different areas but includes all or some of the following:

  • windows
  • doors
  • roofs 
  • chimneys
  • architectural details
  • painting of unpainted properties
  • boundary walls, fences, railings
  • porches
  • hardstandings.

Associated documents

Guidance Notes

You can check whether a particular property is affected by an Article 4(2) Direction by looking at the Article 4(2) address list.

Contact us

Planning, Built Heritage
Cheshire East Council




0300 123 5014

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