An Article 4 Direction is made by a Local Planning Authority and confirmed by the Government. It serves to restrict Permitted Development rights usually in Conservation Areas.
The aim of an Article 4 Direction is to encourage the retention of high quality architectural features and to preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the built heritage. Enhanced planning controls are sometimes necessary because the designation of a Conservation Area only goes some way towards protecting the integrity of buildings and their character. Under the Town and Country Planning Act (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, permitted development rights enable property owners within a Conservation Area to undertake small-scale extensions and/or alterations without the need for planning permission. Where these rights are uncontrolled, unsympathetic alterations can erode the special interest of the Conservation Area. Article 4(1) Directions control changes to all elevations of a property whereas Article 4(2) Directions control changes to only "relevant" elevations of a property, these being elevations fronting a highway, including footpath, waterway or open space. As there may be some ambiguity regarding what constitutes an open space it is always advisable to check with a planning officer.