Article 4 Directions & Regulation 7 Directions
Under the provisions set out in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 [Article 4] the council can remove or restrict the permitted development rights in relation to a specific site or area. This means that planning permission will be required where normally it would not. For example, alterations to windows, doors, painting of the exterior or alterations to boundary walls may be restricted through an Article 4 Direction.
These are often used to preserve features of historic interest in a conservation area. Below is a list of conservation areas in the district which have Article 4 Directions:
- Bath Mill Conservation Area
- Lancaster Conservation Area
- Glasson Dock Conservation Area
- Heysham Conservation Area
- Westfield Memorial Village Conservation Area
- Morecambe Conservation Area
The boundaries of these areas can be viewed on an interactive map of heritage assets
On 10th November 2021, Lancaster City Council brought into force a Direction under Article 4(1) of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended) to remove what is currently permitted development (where an application for planning permission is not required) for the change of use of a dwellinghouse (occupied by a household living as a family) (Use Class C3) to a House of Multiple Occupation (3-6 Occupants) (Use Class C4). The Article 4 will relate to the Lancaster wards of Bulk, Castle, John O’Gaunt, Marsh, Scotforth East, Scotforth West, Skerton East, Skerton West and the village of Galgate.
The Article 4 Direction came into force on 10 November 2021 and from that date a planning application will be required to change the use of a dwellinghouse into a small HMO (Use Class C4) (3-6 occupants).
The Article 4 Direction
- Cabinet Report 2 March 2021
- Minutes of Cabinet 2 March 2021
- Background Paper on the Designation of Article 4 Areas to Control Houses In Multiple Occupation
- Consultation Statement
- Copy of Article 4 ‘made’ on 10th November 2020
What is an Article 4 Direction?
An Article 4 Direction is part of planning legislation that allows the council to remove permitted development rights, including changes of use from an area. Permitted development rights are a national grant of planning permission which allow certain development to be carried out without having to make a planning application under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended). These rights can be withdrawn under Article 4(1) of the Order where is there is justification for the purpose and extent.
What does an Article 4 Direction do?
The Article 4 Direction means that a planning application must be submitted for proposals to convert Dwellinghouses (Use Class C3 – houses occupied by a household living as a family) to a HMO (Use Class C4 - 3-6 occupants).
The conversion to a large HMOs (more than 6 occupants) from a dwellinghouse (Use Class C3) or premises in another use required planning permission before the Article 4 was brought into force and this will not change.
Applications will be considered in the context of Policy DM13 of the Development Management DPD, other relevant policies in the Local Plan and the Residential Conversions and Houses in Multiple Occupation Supplementary Planning Document.
Which areas does the Article 4 Direction Apply To?
The Article 4 Direction applies to the following ward areas:
- Bulk, Castle, John O’Gaunt, Marsh, Scotforth East, Scotforth West, Skerton East, Skerton West, the village of Galgate
- View map of applicable ward areas
Declare a small house in multiple occupation (small HMO)
The council will consider whether it is expedient to take enforcement action where a dwellinghouse is converted to a small HMO without planning permission. Enforcement action would usually require the HMO to be converted back to and used as a dwellinghouse by a single household living as a family. The council has created a data base of known HMOs using the HMO Licence Register and houses with a student council tax exemption. This data may not capture all HMOs.
The council is asking that landlords and owners of existing HMOs notify us of their properties to ensure that the database is as accurate as possible. Declaring and providing information about your small HMO will help the council in assessing whether they were implemented and brought into use before the Article 4 Direction came into force, if complaints arise in the future.
Legal confirmation of HMO
Please note that notification will not provide a legal confirmation that the property is a HMO. For formal confirmation you will need to submit an application for an Existing Lawful Development Certificate.
Completely separate to planning regulations, where a property is used as a house in multiple occupation with five or more occupants that form more than one household, the landlord must obtain a HMO licence from the council.
Lancaster City Council has received approval from the Secretary of State to introduce a Regulation 7 Direction to control the display of ‘To Let’ signs on residential properties in Lancaster. These controls are in response to growing numbers and concentrations of ‘To Let’ signs in parts of the city. The proliferation of these signs creates clutter in the street and they have a harmful impact on the visual quality and character of the local area, particularly in the terraced and historic streets of Lancaster. The aim is to remove these signs and enhance the visual quality of these streets
When Did the Controls Come Into Force?
The Regulation 7 Direction came into force on 1 September 2021.
What Do The Controls Mean?
‘To Let’ signs usually benefit from deemed Advertisement Consent and do not require permission from the Council to be displayed on a property. The Regulation 7 Direction removes the deemed consent for the display of ‘To Let’ signs on residential properties. ‘To Let’ signs cannot be displayed in relation to residential properties in the areas covered by the Regulation 7 Direction.
‘To Let’ signs for commercial property (this does not include properties in residential use) and ‘For Sale’ signs will still benefit from deemed consent and can be displayed in most cases.
Where Do The Controls Cover?
The controls cover the following wards in Lancaster: Bulk, Castle, John O’Gaunt, Marsh and Scotforth East and Scotforth West. The areas covered by the controls can be viewed on the map below and on the interactive map here.
What Will Happen When A ‘To Let Sign’ Is Displayed Without Advertisement Consent?
Where a ‘To Let’ sign is displayed without Advertisement Consent, the Council can prosecute in the Magistrates Court. The fine on conviction can be up to £2,500 with an additional daily fine for a continuing offence. The Council would prefer not to have to take enforcement action or to prosecute agents for the display of ‘To Let’ signs. We ask for your cooperation and to ensure that by the date that the Regulation 7 Direction comes into force, all ‘To Let’ signs are removed. Once the controls come into force a survey will be carried out and prosecution will be pursued where appropriate.
Where Can I Find More Information?
More information can be found within the documents below.
- The Regulation 7 Direction
- Direction 7 Decision Letter
- Map of the area covered by the Regulation 7 Direction
- Executive Decision
- Public Notice
- Submission Letter to the Secretary of State
- Cabinet Report – 15th September 2020
- Minutes of the Cabinet Meeting
- Background Paper on the Designation of a Regulation 7 Direction in Lancaster
- Consultation Statement
- Interactive map
- Challenge Information
- Inspector's Report
- Cabinet Report - 7 June 2021
- Cabinet Minutes - 7 June 2021
Advise about planning policy, HMO Density & Map by Post Code and Licensing, can be viewed here (under the HMO & To Let Signs drop down section)
Last updated: 08 December 2021