Weston Stone Walls Article 4 Direction

Weston stone walls Article 4 Direction proposal

NORTH SOMERSET COUNCIL Consultation

SUBJECT:  

To establish Article 4 Directions to remove permitted development rights to demolish stone walls 1 metre in height or less in the Great Weston Conservation Area.

BACKGROUND:

An Article 4 Direction is a direction under Article 4 of the General Permitted Development Order which enables the Secretary of State or the local planning authority to withdraw specified permitted development rights across a defined area.  There are two types of directions under the General Permitted Development Order: non-immediate directions and directions with immediate effect. This direction is a non immediate direction.

Provided that there is justification for both its purpose and extent, an Article 4 Direction can:

  • remove specified permitted development rights related to operational development or change of use
  • remove permitted development rights with temporary or permanent effect.

The potential harm that the direction is intended to address needs to be clearly identified. Government guidance provides there will also need to be a strong justification for the withdrawal of permitted development rights relating to [most relevant listed]:

  • a wide area (e.g. those covering a large proportion of or the entire area of a local planning authority, National Park or Area of Outstanding National Beauty)
  • an area extending beyond the essential core of a primary shopping area
  • cases where prior approval powers are available to control permitted development

Article 4 Directions are used to control works that could threaten the character of an area of acknowledged importance, such as a conservation area.  An Article 4 Direction only means that a particular development cannot be carried out under permitted development rights and therefore needs a planning application. This gives a local planning authority the opportunity to consider a proposal in more detail.

REASONS:

In 2018 after a year of work and extensive public consultation, the Great Weston Conservation Area was adopted by the Council. The management plan for the Conservation Area included the establishment of Article 4 Directions to remove permitted development rights to demolish stone walls of 1 metre or less in height.

Stone walls over 1 metre currently require planning permission prior to demolition.

Stone walls in Weston were traditionally built to 3 feet height, this means that many walls can currently be demolished without gaining planning permission as a metre is just over 3 feet.

In July 2021 we commissioned an updated report on the value of stone walls to the Conservation Area. The report is provided as a supporting document.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

Increase in planning applications is likely to be minimal as clear, concise controls, backed up by appropriate guidance, tend to encourage like-for-like repair or replacement in matching materials, which do not require planning permission (RPS Planning Research into the use of Article 4 directions on behalf of the English Historic Towns Forum, October 2008, paragraphs 3.18-3.19).

If a local planning authority makes an Article 4 Direction, it can be liable to pay compensation to those whose permitted development rights have been withdrawn. The grounds on which compensation can be claimed are limited to abortive expenditure or other loss or damage directly attributable to the withdrawal of permitted development rights.

There will be a cost to applicants who wish to submit a planning application to demolish a stone wall.

LEGAL POWERS AND IMPLICATIONS

The Local Planning Authority has the power to make this decision in accordance with Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, as amended.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPLICATIONS

The Decision supports the Council’s response to the Climate Emergency and has positive environmental impact. The rational for removing walls is often to create parking areas in front gardens, this is likely to add hard surfaces and reduced permeability, reducing biodiversity and increasing flood risk. Retaining stone walls has a zero carbon impact.

CONSULTATION

Public representations regarding the proposed Article 4 Direction(s) are invited for a period of 6 weeks on North Somerset Council Consultation portal. Running from 9am on 26 October to 5pm on 07 December 2021

  • This phase is promoted via local media and social media on North Somerset Council’s Facebook page and through North Somerset Life magazine. The magazine goes to every household in North Somerset. Public Notices on eight Weston Town Council notice boards around Weston.
  • A copy of background papers and map is available to view, in The Central Library, Weston-super-Mare.
  • Following an evaluation of the representations an Executive Member decision will be made whether or not to proceed with the making of an Article 4 Direction(s).

If the decision is to proceed the Article 4 Direction(s) will come into force 9am on 01 February 2022.