Following a statement from government on 1 July, these rights were extended with immediate effect – a move which Housing minister, Christopher Pincher, was forced to defend, arguing that the expansion of PDR would revive the country’s ailing high streets.
But what exactly has changed and what effect will it have on local authorities seeking to regenerate their town centres? Our planning team explores.
What was announced?
Under the changes which came into force on 1 July, a “higher threshold” for the use of ‘Article 4’ directions was introduced, in paragraph 53 of the in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Under the under the new rules, as local authority, you will be required to notify the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government (DHCLG) about new Article 4 directions, which DHCLG will closely monitor to ensure compliance with the new policy.
Article 4 directions are used by councils to suspend individual permitted development rights (PDR) in a given area.
However, under the changes announced, Article 4 directions will now need to be “targeted and well-evidenced with clear justification for their introduction and must only apply to the smallest geographical area possible to accomplish their objective.”
What does this mean in English?
The changes effectively place fresh limits on the ability of councils to manage and steer PDR development within their local area.
This will be particularly important for those councils that do not have significant landholdings in their town centres, as they will now have a lot less control over what is developed there.
The use of Article 4 directions to remove national PDR should:
- Where they relate to change from non-residential use to residential use, be limited to situations where an Article 4 direction is necessary to avoid wholly unacceptable adverse impacts (this could include the loss of the essential core of a primary shopping area which would seriously undermine its vitality and viability, but would be very unlikely to extend to the whole of a town centre)
- In other cases, be limited to situations where an Article 4 direction is necessary to protect local amenity or the well-being of the area (this could include the use of Article 4 directions to require planning permission for the demolition of local facilities)
- In all cases, be based on robust evidence, and apply to the smallest geographical area possible.