Article 4 Directions in Reading

There are 18 Article 4 Directions on streets and buildings in Reading.  This page explains the restraints this brings on building owners.  It also identifies, by way of a flip book, the 15 streets which have A4Ds to  safeguard patterned brickwork and other original features.  It details the areas in the University Area and Jesse Terrace which have A4D’s restricting the conversion of buildings to Homes of Multiple Occupation (HMOSs).  It identifies 3 Craven Road ( a Locally Listed Building) as having an A4D which prevents its demolition without obtaining planning consent. 

15 Streets with Article 4 Directions

Images of ALL the buildings subject to Article 4 Directions because of their architectural features are provided in the following photo book:-

NOTE: Conversion of houses in the 15 streets to Homes of Multiple Occupation (HMOs).  

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.  Further details on this are below.


The Council’s Draft Local Plan Submission March 2018 states (section 4.2.14 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.”

A similar statement is also made at section 2.3.19  of the Historic Environment Background Paper

There was however no visible list of the buildings with A4Ds, and as Jesse Terrace did not have patterned brickwork we knew the explanation that “..the Article 4s have been applied to all groups of buildings listed to preserve their Patterned or decorative brickwork”  was not correct.  It was also unhelpful for the buildings not to be listed clearly anywhere; not only would home owners not be on alert but Council officers would not be able to apply “the law”.

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. It details that 4 Streets were removed , confirms 11 and adds 3.

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 in the header of the book of images above.

We also discovered on a Reading Museum file 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.

Following the above investigative work on 28 February 2018 RBC added to their website a list of buildings with Article 4 Directions and clarified the reasoning set against Field Road,  Junction Road and Jesse Terrace as “architectural features” , this list may be seen 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.

 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 now information  about both. The areas are:

  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 (including No 1).

  • 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, which was made on 19th July 2004 and confirmed by Committee in December 2004. This 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, gates, front doors, replacement of original wooden sash windows with PVC, railings etc. This may be accessed Jesse Terrace Article 4 – building protection

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.

3 Craven Road, opposite the hospital, is the only Locally Listed building which also has an Article 4? 

Image below – Callum Cromwell.

The A4D is to prevent demolition without Planning Consent being sought. Further details 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 enable retirement housing to be build on the site.  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. The developers then appealed and the Planning Inspector heard the case in September 2018, and firmly rejected the appeal on 5 grounds.  In early 2020 the portacabins were removed from the back of the site – clearly indicating the NHS did not plan to continue with its existing use.  However  nothing has been heard about further plans for the building.  A sensible owner would be able to convert it into housing and also build something appropriate in the grounds (which at the moment is a tarmac car park.

Recent Posts

Station Retail Park development plans submitted

Station Retail Park Development (the TGI Fridays/ ALDI/ Majestic Wine Warehouse site), Caversham Road / Vastern Road. Application for Outline Planning Consent now submitted.

The initial design for the development which will run along Vastern Road and Caversham Road.

3 April 2020 An application for Outline Planning Consent has been submitted for this site No 200328. The link to the application on RBCs Planning site is HERE

A final exhibition was held on 30 & 31 October 2019.  The link HERE takes you to information about the proposals. On Social Media there are understandable concerns from local residents about the loss of the supermarket and other facilities, which will not be replaced for 5 years (the expected time the scheme will take to complete). If taken to completion this scheme will add some 900 flats and some office space with retail on the ground floors. The scheme raised a lot of opposition from people living in Caversham the company commented after the exhibition that “Most of the 220 comments came from Caversham residents and 70% objected.” The Reading on Thames Nov 2019 blog commented The height of the tall building has been pointlessly shrunk to placate the moaners from Caversham Heights.”

On 21 January members of the RCS committee, the CAAC and CADRA met Barton Willmore, the advisors behind the scheme, high up in the Blade to gain a better understanding of what is proposed here. When we meet developers and their agents in this way there is an agreement about confidentiality. It would not however be any surprise that as the site is owned by AVIVA (pension company) that Barton Willmore are developing a scheme which will lead to an Outline Planning Application, the site will then be sold on to a developer who will submit a detailed application with a view to implementation. We were given to understand that the leases on the sites end from 2021 to 2025. It will probably take up to 2 years to work up an outline planning application which gains consent so it is understandable why the scheme has been raised now.

The concerns we raised with BW included: how would construction be undertaken, would the whole site be worked on at the same time or would it work block by block as each lease came to and end (difficult either way), the challenges of all the construction traffic serving developments on Station Hill, SSE, Reading Metropolitan and this site all at pretty much the same time, the closeness of the accommodation blocks to each other, views though the site from the station to the Thames, how the design of the 3 nearby development sites work together (SSE Vastern Road, Reading Metropolitan (the former GPO Sorting Office)), pollution from the nearby road, the accumulated impact of the town centre developments on Healthcare facilities, what social facilities would be provided to build communities, are the units for sale or rent, affordable element? We have been offered a return discussion when there is more information.

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