Members received the report on the Request to review representations received and confirm the Article 4 (1) directions for the demolition of front boundary treatments within 10 of Harrow’s Conservation Areas.
An Article 4 Direction was a direction under article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (“GPDO”) which enabled the Council to withdraw specified permitted development rights across a defined area.
The effect of this was to require planning permission for the specified works where normally such works would not require planning permission. In Harrow, the Council had proactively made Article 4 Directions for the majority of its Conservation Areas in order to protect the special architectural or historic interest and character (or amenity) of the areas.
On 30 May 2018 the Planning Committee had agreed the officer’s recommendation to introduce an Article 4 direction for 14 Conservation Areas, subject to representations received during the statutory consultation period being reported back to Planning Committee, along with a recommendation as to whether or not to confirm them.
The Article 4 directions required planning permission for the demolition of all or any part of any gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure (by restricting Part 11 Class C of Schedule 2 to the GPDO) where there was already an Article 4 direction in place requiring planning permission for the alteration of a boundary treatment. From December 2020 to April 2021, the Article 4 directions had been introduced as agreed, subject to the required consultation period.
The report covered the Directions of the Harrow Weald Park, Pinner and Stanmore and Edgware groups of Conservation Areas, where the statutory consultation period had been completed and the Directions needed to be confirmed before they lapsed.
Representations had been received requesting clarification as to what the introduction of the Article 4 directions meant, which had been supplied in each instance without further comment or query in response.
The report, therefore, proposed to confirm the Article 4 Directions that were introduced for 10 conservation areas, noting that the responses to the Harrow on the Hill Conservation Areas Directions would be reported at a subsequent meeting, along with a recommendation as to whether they should be confirmed or not. The geographic extent of the directions reflected that of the existing Article 4 Directions where rights had been withdrawn for the alteration of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure.
Councillors Ashton and Patel expressed their reservations about imposing Article 4 Directions on to individual householders and that, at this late stage, the imposition would not make much difference to the integrity of long-established Conservation Areas. They added that it was of concern that the Council appeared to favour influential developers and large organisations by recommending for grant inappropriate applications in, or abutting, Conservation Areas, thereby overlooking the importance of Harrow’s heritage assets. These recommendations were being made at the same time as making life very difficult for the individual householders, who lived in Harrow's Conservation Areas.
The Committee wished it to be recorded that the decision to accept the recommendations was by majority of votes.
Councillors Ali, Assad, Brown and Robson voted to accept the recommendations.
Councillors Ashton, Baxter and Patel and Christopher Baxter voted to abstain at approving the Article 4 Directions for reasons as stated above.
RESOLVED: That the following recommendations be accepted:
a) review the representations received, along with the Council’s response in each instance in appendix 1;
b) agree to officers’ recommendation to confirm the Article 4(1) Directions made under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 as shown in appendix 2 to require planning permission for the demolition of all or any part of any gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure in existing conservation areas (Part 11, Class C of Schedule 2 to the GPDO), where an existing Article 4 direction exists in relation to the construction or alteration of a boundary treatment. The new additional Article 4 directions apply only where facing a highway, waterway or open space where this is the case already for the existing Article 4 Direction, and otherwise for the entire boundary treatment, in accordance with the existing Article 4 Direction; and
c) delegate authority to the Chief Planning Officer to undertake the necessary statutory processes required to confirm the Directions.