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Cyngor Gwynedd to decide on the introduction of Article 4 Direction

A REPORT to be considered by Cyngor Gwynedd’s Cabinet on 16 July recommends confirming the implementation of Article 4 Direction to control the use of houses as second homes and holiday accommodation.

This innovative step would enable the Council as the Gwynedd Local Planning Authority to require property owners to obtain planning permission before changing the use of a main home into a second home or short-term holiday accommodation. The change would come into effect from 1 September 2024.

The Council held a public engagement period on the introduction of the Article 4 Direction during August and September 2023, and all comments submitted have received careful consideration. The comments and the Council’s response were considered at a meeting of the Council’s Communities Scrutiny Committee in May, where members supported the work that has been carried out on the process and a recommendation was made for the Cabinet to confirm the Article 4 Direction.

Councillor Dafydd Meurig, Cyngor Gwynedd’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: “Cyngor Gwynedd wants to ensure that local people able to access suitable and affordable housing locally – that is key to securing the future of our communities.

“Unfortunately, research shows that a significant proportion of people in Gwynedd are priced out of the housing market and that is more evident in communities with higher numbers of holiday homes.

“It is therefore inevitable that the significant number of houses being used as second homes and short-term holiday accommodation is affecting the ability of the people of Gwynedd to access homes in their communities.  

“By introducing an Article 4 Direction, the Council would have a new tool to try to control the impact of second homes and holiday accommodation. The change would require owners to submit a planning application for changing the use of residential properties into second homes or short-term holiday accommodation.

“Should the Council decide to go ahead, Gwynedd would become the first Planning Authority to use these new planning powers introduced by the Government.

“Detailed work has been carried out over the past year to set out the case for the change to be made and we are very grateful to everyone who took part during the public engagement period.

“The comments have received careful consideration in the Council’s Communities Scrutiny Committee and the Cabinet will now consider all evidence when deciding if it is to confirm the implementation of the Article 4 Direction from September onwards.”

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If the Cabinet decides to confirm, the Article 4 Direction would come into effect from 1 September 2024, within the Gwynedd Local Planning Authority area alone (not in the Eryri National Park area). The change would not apply to properties already established as second homes or short-term holiday accommodation before the Article 4 Direction comes into force.

For more information on Article 4 Direction in the Gwynedd Planning Authority Area, visit here

The Welsh Government has brought ground-breaking changes to the planning framework, giving local authorities power to manage future numbers of second homes and short-term holiday lets.

Changes to the national planning framework have seen the introduction of three new classes of use, namely, main home, second home and short-term accommodation. Each local planning authority has the power to decide whether planning permission is required to change from one use class to another by removing permitted development rights. The introduction of an Article 4 Direction allows the removal of these rights. If confirmed, Cyngor Gwynedd will be responsible for implementing it.

Cyngor Gwynedd is considering introducing an Article 4 Direction for the Gwynedd Planning Authority area, and the Welsh Government is providing financial support for the Dwyfor area so that lessons learned from the pilot area can be shared across the country.

The Council held a public engagement period from 2 August to 13 September 2023, and a report considering the feedback and responses was considered by Cyngor Gwynedd’s Communities Scrutiny Committee on 16 May

A report will be submitted to the Cyngor Gwynedd Cabinet on 16 July for the members to consider the comments received and to make a decision on whether or not to confirm the Article 4 Direction. 

Should the Cabinet decide to confirm the Article 4 Direction, it would take effect from 1 September 2024, and that would be specifically in the Gwynedd Local Planning Authority Area (not in the Eryri National Park area). The Park is currently considering the matter and a public engagement period has been held recently on the implementation of an Article 4 Direction in the Eryri Planning Authority Area.  

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