Article 4 Directions

Article 4 directions are issued by the council where specific control is needed, for example, places where new developments could threaten the overall character of the area, especially if it is an area which has been deemed to be of some importance, historically or otherwise. For this reason, you would see them applied to conservation areas more commonly.

The effect that this type of direction has on the area is to remove permitted development rights, so that you have to obtain full planning permissions from the local authorities before you can begin any building work. Article 4 directions are never are never put into place without being very carefully considered first. This is because the council may have to pay compensation to people who are looking to get any work done on their property, but were denied the planning permission to do so, who would otherwise have been able to do it under the permitted development rights.

These can increase the public protection of old buildings, buildings of interest and their settings. They are not necessary for works to listed buildings and scheduled monuments,, as listed building consent would cover all of the potential harmful works which would otherwise be allowed due to permitted development. They can, however, assist in the protection of all other heritage assets (especially conservation areas) and help with the protection of the setting of all heritage assets, including listed buildings. The aim of these directions is to secure the protection of high quality architectural features on buildings, and to control small scale works that may be of little concern elsewhere, but that would have a considerable impact on an area of special architectural and historic interest.

People who live in a conservation area which is covered by an article 4 direction will be notified by the council when such an order is introduced. When an article 4 direction is put into place, it does not necessarily prevent all alterations to the exterior of your property, however, it does ensure that proposed changes are in accordance with the objective of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the conservation area.

In Milton Keynes, there are currently two areas which have article 4 directions issued to them – they are Olney conservation area and Wolverton conservation area.

Written by Jade Turney – Building Tectonics Ltd.

Permitted Development

In brief, Permitted Development is that work that you can carry out to your house without requiring Planning Permission.  The rules changed the other year and was heralded with a fanfare by Governments as a new simplified set of rules that would result in fewer Planning Applications. Oh yer!  I can tell you that our very first project under the new regime needed Planning Permission but it would not have done under the old set of rules.  However that is not the worst of it.  As complicated as the old rules were, we ( those working in the field) were familiar with them and there had been many test cases to iron out the anomalies and help clarify matters.  What we are dealing with now is a very sloppy piece of legal drafting that is being interpreted by one planning authority in one way and another in another way.

Building Tectonics advises that the Local Planning Department should always be consulted to see if Planning Permission is required.  We nearly always do this because in addition to the vagaries of the new rules, a planning authority can apply to have your Permitted development Rights removed.  This is done where the local authority believes an area is special, and the public cannot be trusted to build with taste and sensitivity.

Central Government advice actually encourages applicants to make a pre-planning enquiry, as we do, and most local authorities.  However some Planning Authorities are now charging for this consultation which is a bit rich and I believe deplorable.  In these cash struck times we may see more councils doing this.  It goes against the spirit of things and we should harrang Central Government to stop this.

As a summary I would repeat that Permitted Development is that which can be done without Planning Permission.  Lastly I would like to stress that just because you need Planning Permission does not mean you will not get it.  I have had clients that have gone to great lengths to come up with a design that can be built under Permitted Development and yet a much better approach would have been to design a much nicer extension that would require Planning Permission.  In most cases a well designed extension will obtain approval.

Please also remember that building Regulation Approval is an entirely different thing and is not affected by any on the above, so this separate approval will probably be needed anyway.

Happy building.

Written by Tony Keller – Building Tectonics Ltd.

Planning Permission and Building Regulations

Planning Permission and Building Regulations
It is apparent that many clients and potential clients confuse Planning Permission and Building Regulation Approval.  What I am about to explain is not intended to be definitive or comprehensive but only a rough guide to a subject that many find unfathomable.

Planning.
Very roughly the Planning Department is concerned with the use to what the building or land is put, ie is the building or land a shop or a house for instance. This is because it may be undesirable to have a noisy factory, or a business with many customers creating a parking issue, in the middle of a housing estate. The other issue that concerns Planners is what will the building will look like. They use terms like massing, style and scale, all terms effectively relating to how the building relates to other nearby buildings or the building you are trying to extend. Very simply for most of Building Tectonics work these are the sort of issues that we have to talk to the Planning Department about.

Building Regulations.
Building Regulations started off as mandatory building codes to ensure the safety and well-being of people using a building. Simple examples would include structural stability and damp penetration. This is still at the core of the Building Regulations but they are now also used to implement Central Government policy regarding heat loss and disabled access. Think of Building Regulations as the technical standards you have to achieve.

This is of course very simplistic and one could list many examples that contradict the above.

We have had many clients including professional people such as solicitors who have not had a grasp that there are these two regulatory areas and even though Building Tectonics will deal with these two aspects for a client, they still have to be aware that both types of approvals are required – unless the work is exempt of course. Now, this issue of whether the work is exempt or not also requires an understanding of the two areas because the work may be exempt from one but not the other.

I will blog again on Planning matters and Building Regulations but in the meantime I hope the above is useful.

Written by Tony Keller – Building Tectonics Ltd.