Article 4 Direction
As part of measures to seek to manage the impact of second homes and short-term holiday lets on communities, the Welsh Government has introduced changes to planning legislation.
The amendments to planning legislation means that a Local Planning Authority (Cyngor Gwynedd and Eryri National Park in Gwynedd) can introduce what is known as an Article 4 Direction to manage the use of housing as second homes and holiday lets.
After undertaking the necessary steps, the Article 4 Direction enables Local Planning Authorities to require property owners to obtain planning permission before changing the use of their properties into second homes or short-term holiday lets.
A report on the matter was considered by the Council’s Cabinet on 13 June 2023. View a webcast of the discussion.
Article 4 Direction
Cyngor Gwynedd has served an Article 4 Direction ‘Notice’ for the Gwynedd Local Planning Authority area (namely the area of Gwynedd located outside Eryri National Park).
The purpose of the Article 4 Direction is to revoke the right to change of use without planning consent, for the following use:
- Change of use of a main residence (use class C3) into a second home (use class C5) or short-term holiday let (use class C6) and specific mixed uses;
- Change of use of a second home (use class C5) to a short-term holiday let (use class C6) and specific mixed uses;
- Change of use from a short-term holiday let (use class C6) to a second home (use class C5) and specific mixed uses.
A paper outlining the exceptional circumstances in order to justify the intention has been prepared. View Paper justifying the introduction of the Article 4 Direction
Furthermore, an Impact Assessment on Protected Characteristics, the Welsh Language and Socio-Economic Disadvantage has been prepared, the assessment will be modified during the process of preparation and receiving approval of the Article 4 Direction. View Equality Impact Assessment.
Have your say
The Council carried out a public engagment period from 2 August to 13 September 2023.
Thank you to everyone who submitted comments during this period, the responses presented will be considered as part of the analysing process.
After analysing all the responses, a report will be presented to Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet for members to consider the representations received and to make a final decision whether to confirm the Article 4 Direction or not.
Should the Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet decide to confirm the Article 4 Direction, the Article 4 Direction will take effect from 1 September 2024.
Frequently asked questions:
An Article 4 Direction is a planning tool which enables Local Planning Authorities to respond to the specific needs of their areas.
For specific types of developments, planning permission is not required, these are referred to as 'permitted development rights'.
However, by implementing the Article 4 Direction, a Local Planning Authority can require planning consent for some types of developments which would otherwise be permitted development, i.e. where no planning consent would be required for the use.
As part of efforts to manage the use of some houses as second homes and holiday lets in communities, the Welsh Government has amended relevant Planning Acts. These reforms enable Local Planning Authorities to control the use of houses as second homes or short-term holiday lets.
Use classes (categories) have been introduced which relates to dwelling houses, second homes and holiday lets, as follows:
- Class C3 - Dwelling houses, used as a sole residence or main residence (Main Home),
- Class C5 - Dwelling houses used otherwise that as a sole or main residence (Second Home)
- Class C6 - Short-term lets (Short-term Holiday Accommodation)
At present, owners can change between these specific use classes without the need for planning permission. However, in order to control the use of houses, planning authorities can now modify the planning system locally in their area through the introduction of an Article 4 Direction.
Should an Article 4 Direction be introduced, it will be possible for a Local Planning Authority to remove the permitted development rights for some types of development. This would make it a requirement for residential property owners to obtain planning permission from the Local Planning Authority before changing their property to a specific use.
If the Article 4 Direction is confirmed, and you own a residential dwelling (which is a main home) within the Gwynedd Local Planning Authority Area and wish to change the use to a second home, short term holiday let or specific mixed use, you will be required to obtain planning consent from Cyngor Gwynedd Local Planning Authority before undertaking the change of use.
If you own a dwelling that is already in use as a second home, short term holiday let or specific mixed uses (before 1 September 2024) – the Article 4 Direction will not affect you.
Cyngor Gwynedd has called for the introduction of changes to ensure better control of the use of houses as holiday homes, whether they are second homes or short-term holiday lets. This change was campaigned for as part of efforts to ensure that there is an affordable provision of houses that meet the needs of local communities.
As was highlighted in research published by the Council in 2020, "Managing the use of dwellings as holiday homes", Gwynedd has the highest percentage of second homes and short-term holiday accommodation in Wales. More recent research by the Council shows that on average 65.5% of the population of Gwynedd are being priced out of the housing market, with the percentage increasing substantially in areas where there are higher numbers of holiday homes.
By successfully implementing the measures, the use of houses as second homes and short-term holiday lets can be controlled in the Gwynedd Planning Authority Area. Furthermore, the changes to planning legislation offers an opportunity to manage the use made of new houses in the future.
No, it is important to note that the decision to introduce the Article 4 Direction is not retrospective and property-owners will not be expected to submit a planning application for use that is already established.
The direction is relevant to any change of use following the formal confirmation and implementation of the Article 4 Direction by the Local Planning Authority (Cyngor Gwynedd).
However if you wish to receive formal confirmation of the legal use of your property, you can do so by submitting a Lawful Development Certificate application to the Local Planning Authority. A Lawful Development Certificate provides assurance that the current use of the building is legal and that planning permission is not required for that use. It is not compulsory to obtain a Lawful Development Certificate, however, there may be circumstances where it may be useful to confirm that the use of the property is legal.
Owners of second homes and holiday lets are advised to collect evidence or keep a record that shows the use of their property (e.g. tax evidence or letting transfers) at the time the Article 4 Direction comes into force (if confirmed) on 1 September 2024. This evidence can be used to support your case should the use be questioned in the future.
At present, the changes to the relevant planning legislation allows for mixed use, meaning that the occasional use of a C3 residential house for C6 holiday use would be possible without the need for planning permission.
It is emphasised that this position may change depending on the content of the Article 4 Direction.
There is a specific process that a Local Planning Authority is expected to follow when introducing an Article 4 Direction.
On 13 June 2023 a report presented to Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet outlined the evidence to support the presentation of Article 4 Direction for the Gwynedd Local Planning Authority.
During that meeting the Cabinet agreed to serve an Article 4 Direction notice and hold a public engagement period where there will be an opportunity for members of the public to submit comments.
All responses will be considered in detail, before the matter will be considered by the Cabinet for a final decision. If the Council Cabinet votes in favour of introducing an Article 4 Direction, it will be implemented on 1 September 2024.
Eryri National Park Authority is also considering the introduction of an Article 4 Direction in the area of Gwynedd where it acts as the Local Planning Authority.
Making a formal decision on the issue will be a matter for individual Local Planning Authorities.
For enquiries relating to the Eryri National Park Authority area, please contact them directly.
Map showing planning areas' bounderies
If you have a further question that has not been addressed above, please contact the Planning Service:
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