Skip to main content
Supplementary planning guidance

Article 4 directions

  • What are Conservation Areas?

    Conservation areas are designated by the local planning authority as being areas of special architectural or historical interest, which are desirable to preserve or enhance.  We currently have 13 Conservation Areas in Belfast.

  • What is permitted development?

    Planning legislation allows certain changes to be made to a property without requiring planning permission. This is known as ‘permitted development’ and covers a range of minor changes including repairs, alterations or extensions.

  • What are Article 4 Directions?

    An Article 4 Direction allows a planning authority to restrict the range of permitted development rights within a particular area - essentially this means that, if someone wishes to carry out works that would normally be considered permitted development, they may now need to obtain planning permission first.

  • Why do we need Article 4 Directions?

    We have a duty to protect the special architectural or historical interest of Conservation Areas.  While works normally covered under permitted development rights may be small in nature, they have the potential to be individually and cumulatively harmful to Conservation Areas.  

    Introducing an Article 4 Direction gives us, as the planning authority, more control over what works take place and provides additional protection of the area’s character, appearance, and built heritage.  

    This does not mean that such works cannot be carried out or would be refused, but it does mean that careful thought must be given to make sure any changes are appropriate and sympathetic for both the property and the wider area.

  • Article 4 Directions in Belfast

    As part of our commitment to conservation and heritage in Belfast, from Friday 19 April 2019, the first Article 4 Directions in the city were implemented in:

    • Adelaide Park Conservation Area 
    • Malone Park Conservation Area 

    These areas were specifically chosen through surveys and public consultation exercises, after which the Department for Infrastructure granted formal approval in January 2019.  

    From 19 April 2019, planning permission may now be required for the following development within the Adelaide Park and Malone Park Conservation Areas:

    • removing and replacing window frames and doors to front and side elevations 
    • erection or construction of a porch outside an external door
    • installing a hard surface, such as a driveway or parking space, to front and side gardens
    • any works involving a gate, fence, wall or enclosure along the boundary
    • painting the outside front or side walls of a building in a different colour or form.

    Full details of the Article 4 Directions, including the precise works included and the properties to which the Directions apply, as well as associated guidance notes, are available.

    Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and Conservation Area Map Viewer

    • View information on the location and details of the TPOs and conservation areas within the Belfast City Council area using our interactive map (link opens in new window)
  • More information

    To discuss Article 4 Directions with our Planning team, call 028 9050 0510, email or visit our office at: 

    Belfast Planning Service
    Cecil Ward Building
    4-10 Linenhall Street
    BT2 8BP


Read aloud icon Read aloud