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Do You Need Planning Permission for a Garden Building?

Garden buildings are a useful addition to your garden; it may be something you’re considering purchasing for your own garden, but you might be concerned about whether or not you require planning permission. Garden structures can be subject to planning permission but generally outbuildings don’t need planning permission as they are considered to be ‘permitted development’ which allows certain types of developments to be made without applying for planning permission. The word outbuilding refers to sheds, playhouses, greenhouses, summer houses, garages and garden offices and studios. Whilst they don’t generally require planning permission; there are some limitations which should be considered. We’ve put together a handy guide which includes what you need to know about planning permission for an outdoor building.


The main consideration which must be made when adding an outbuilding to your garden is height. Planning permission is not required for the majority of garden buildings however once they surpass a certain height, planning permission is required. The maximum height is 4 metres (with a dual pitched roof) and 3 metres for any other roof. It must have a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and be single storey. If the building is within 2 metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the house it must have a maximum height of 2.5 metres. Also, the outbuilding must not have any verandas, balconies or be placed on a raised platform; any platform must not exceed 0.3 metres in height.


In addition to height, placement must also be considered. No more than half the area of land around the ‘original house’ should be covered by additions or other buildings; ‘original house’ refers to how it was first built, or how it stood on 1st July 1948. Conservatories, extensions and outbuildings are all considered additions, so it is important you consider how much land an extension has taken up before purchasing an outbuilding. In terms of location; the outbuilding must be at least 2 metres from any boundary if it is more than 2.5 metres tall or if it is lower than 2.5 metres it can be as close to the boundary as is possible, without forming part of the boundary. There are extra considerations to be made if you are planning to place an outbuilding near a listed building or on designated land. Any outbuilding within the curtilage of listed buildings requires planning permission; as does any outbuilding placed on designated land.


Whilst the majority of uses for a garden building are acceptable such as storage, gardening and working; there are a few rules to consider for the use of your outbuilding. It must still be primarily used as a private residence and not create excessive noise or smells (especially during unreasonable hours). In general, it must not involve things which are not usual for a house. It can be common practice to renovate outbuildings to use as guesthouses for children or relatives however this does require planning permission and means it may now be subject to things such as council tax.


Any garden buildings with additions such as balconies, verandas or raised platforms will need to seek planning permission. When you are in the process of planning the installation of your garden structure, take time to decide what you want from your building and where the best location for it would be. This will then determine whether building permission is needed. It is also important to take into account relevant building regulations when installing the structure, including electrical safety. This requires that all electrical systems, whether in your home or garden, are certified by a qualified electrician to ensure they are safe. Building regulation compliance is generally determined by the size of the structure, with any garden building over 30 square metres requiring full compliance with all applicable rules.

*Please note the planning guidelines outlined in this article are correct for England and Wales. For customers living in Scotland, please seek advice from your local council regarding planning regulations as they differ slightly from England and Wales.

Posted by Matt Jordan

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