Article 4 Directions in Reading

Flip book updated 6 March  2018

An Article 4 Direction withdraws Permitted Development Rights on a building and requires the owner to apply for Planning Permission for some planned changes. They are issued  for various reasons to preserve elements of an area’s appearance or character

The Council’s Pre-Submission Local Plan states (Page 38)

“In areas where there is a need to protect character, local authorities have the power to make an Article 4 direction to remove permitted development rights and require planning applications. There are 15 Article 4 directions currently in place that relate to patterned brickwork and one relating to a locally listed building (plus two which restrict conversions from a house to an HMO) and the Council will continue to consider the implementation of Article 4 directions, particularly in areas where special historic character is threatened. There is potential to use Local Development Orders (LDOs) in combination with Article 4 Directions in order to allow owners to reinstate features that reflect historic character without having to submit a planning application.

The Reading Borough Council website, with effect from 23 February 2018,  provides information about the Roads which have an Article 4 Direction applied to them. This is  a most welcome improvement. The link to the RBC site is HERE.

We encouraged the Council to clarify the reasoning for the Article 4 Directions as the statement on their Planning website that “the Article 4s have been applied to all groups of buildings listed to preserve their Patterned or decorative brickwork” did not cover the breadth of the original intent in some instances and in one (Jesse Terrace) it was incorrect, as there is no patterned brickwork in Jesse Terrace. On 28 February 2018 the reasoning set against Field Road,  Junction Road and Jesse Terrace have been adjusted to include “architectural features”.

Article 4 Directions applied to buildings proposed to be converted to Homes of Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

There are TWO Article 4 Directions which have been applied by RBC in respect of buildings proposed to be converted to HMOs.  The Council’s “Help with Planning website” Help with Planning provides information  about only one of them, the houses in the University’s Residential Catchment Area.  Below we provide information about both:

  1. Houses in the University’s Residential Catchment Area
  • An Article 4 Direction has been applied to houses in the University “residential catchment area” . This covers parts of Park, Redlands and Katesgrove Wards. It  removes Permitted Development Rights and requires owners to apply for Planning Permission to change a house (C3 use) into a small house in multiple occupation (HMO) (C4 use).
  • This Direction was activated in 2012.
  • Information on the roads where this HMO related Article 4 was  applied is:

2. Jesse Terrace.

  • The other Article 4 Direction  requires planning permission to be obtained to convert a house (C3) fronting onto Jesse Terrace to a small house in multiple occupation (C4).  It was approved in January 2016. It may be accessed HERE and the MAP.
  • This is in ADDITION to the Article 4 direction, approved around 2006, which requires planning permission to be obtained should a house owner wish to change ANY of the external features of the houses which can be seen from the road.  This includes, for example, replacement of, or changes to, front doors, replacement of original wooden sash windows with PVC, railings….

Conversion to a large house in multiple occupation – usually with more than 6 unrelated occupants – requires planning permission in any case across the whole Borough.

15 Streets with Article 4 Directions

In 2002 a member of Reading Civic Society received a document from the Planning Department of RBC which listed 11 streets with A4 Directions and added 3 others – a total of 14.  The document signed by Harry Tee, Chief Executive of RBC is dated January 1988.

Article 4 – Letter from CE Harry Tee 22 Jan 1988

This letter removes 4 Streets, confirms 11 and adds 3. The final list is as below:

In 2006 Reading Civic Society received a document from the Planning Department

List of Article 4s provided by RBC in 2006

which confirmed that the list as on the header of the book of images below. We will gradually include images of ALL the buildings subject to Article 4 Directions.

NOTE: Basingstoke Road and Junction Road houses are Additionally included within the A4 Direction re HMOs in the University “Residential Catchment Area”. Houses in Jesse Terrace are also subject to HMO restrictions.

Whilst the Council’s Local Plan states that the Article 4 directions on the above properties are about  patterned brickwork this is not strictly accurate.  The letter dated 1988 for example states “To safeguard patterned brickwork and other original architectural features”.

We also found a RBC reference to the A4D applied to; 23-31 Junction Road: Attractive late Victorian terrace. Original front dormers. Slate roof. Half hipped ends. Period railings on low brick wall, but 23 and 29 missing for parking access. Good example of a patterned brickwork terrace. Protected by an Article 4 Direction dated January 1988.”  This clarifies that the original dormers and the railings are also covered by the A4D.

on 28 February 2018 the Article 4 section of the Council website was amended and may be accessed HERE.

What restrictions are applied to the properties in the above streets? 

A note from Jane Greenaway, RBCs Planning Administrator, in 2006 is helpfully clear:

All permitted development rights are taken away.  No alterations can be made.  This covers cement rendering, stone cladding on front and side walls, changes to size of window and door openings and inserting dormer windows into the roof. No porches can be built on the building or alteration of gates, fences and walls. No painting of outside walls, including any textured paint or coating.

Mr Tee’s letter in of 1988 (Still in use in 2002)  states:

Certain works which would normally be permitted development now require express permission and fall within planning control.  These works are: 

  • Class II.I The building, repair, alternation and improvement of gates, fences and walls.
  • Class I.2 Porches
  • Class II.3  Painting the outside walls of the house, including any textured paint or coating.

The Locally Listed building which has an Article 4? 

This is 3 Craven Road, opposite the the hospital. Image below – Callum Cromwell.

Further details on this may be seen at the bottom of the RBC A4 page HERE.

The building was added to the LIST OF LOCALLY IMPORTANT BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES in 2017 it is LL5.  An application had been made to demolish it and No 5 to facilitate retirement housing.  The A4 was applied removing the permitted development rights to demolish the building without obtaining planning permission.  At the Planning Applications Committee in February 2018 a revised submission for the development was rejected, in part as the company had made no attempt at all to recognise in the re-design the aim of the council to retain the building.

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