This handy guide will help you to establish whether you need planning permission for a shed, outbuilding or other garden structure. Our specialist property solicitors are available on 01225 462871, or by email. Alternatively, you can complete the Contact Form at the foot of this page.
This is a surprisingly common question, and it’s reassuring that most people are alert to the need to check where they stand before erecting any form of structure in their garden.
As a property owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that any structure you put up satisfies all relevant planning rules and building regulations. If you don’t, you may well find yourself forced to remove it.
Should you have any doubt at all as to what, if any, permissions are required, the best policy is always to discuss your plans with your local authority planning department. Use this helpful link to find their contact details.
Shed planning permission
Since a change in the law in 2008, outbuildings benefit from “permitted development rights”. This means that as long as you satisfy certain criteria, outbuilding planning permission is automatically granted, i.e. you do not need to make an application.
It applies to various structures, including – but certainly not limited to – sheds, garages and greenhouses. The important thing is that the outbuilding is erected for a “purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house”. So, it will also cover structures as diverse as beehives, domestic heating oil tanks, dog kennels and sauna cabins. If, however, the structure is intrinsic to the functioning of your house, you are likely to need planning permission. So, for example, it will not cover self-contained accommodation or even just a bedroom.
Permitted development outbuildings
Your proposed structure will have permitted development rights if it meets the following criteria (note – all measurements are external):
- It is for domestic use only, by the people who occupy the house and contains no sleeping accommodation.
- Excluding the area occupied by the house, the structure does not cover more than fifty per cent of the garden.
- The structure is not located on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation – i.e not in front of your house.
- The structure is single storey with an eaves height not exceeding 2.5 metres, with a maximum overall height of 4 metres if the roof is dual-pitched, or 3 metres in any other case.
- If the structure is located within 2 metres of the property’s boundary, the entire building must not exceed 2.5 metres high.
- The structure has no veranda or balcony.
- Raised platforms associated with the structure, such as decking, should be no higher than 30 centimetres from ground level.
- The floor area of the structure does not exceed 15 square metres. (Note that up to 30 square metres may fall under permitted development, providing that other conditions are also met).
The government have produced a technical guide to permitted development rights, which is available online.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule! Here are a few examples:
- Bedrooms and bathrooms – if you intend to install either in your shed or outbuilding, always check that’s permitted. Self-contained accommodation will require both planning permission and building regulation approval.
- Home office – if you plan to run a business from a garden office, you will generally need planning consent. However, this is usually very straightforward unless it will attract a significant number of visitors.
- Animals –as long as it’s for the domestic needs or personal enjoyment of the occupants of your house, you are usually permitted to keep pets, poultry, other birds, or even livestock in an outbuilding.
- Designated land – includes land in conservation areas, World Heritage Sites, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and national parks. If your land falls within such a protected area, to qualify as permitted development, the maximum total area covered by any outbuildings situated more than 20 metres from any wall of the house must not exceed 10 square metres. There are also other restrictions and you should always check with your local planning authority.
- Listed buildings – if your house is listed, you will probably need Listed Building Consent for any building operations. If the proposed structure is on land immediately surrounding a listed building, you will likely need to submit a planning application unless listed building consent has been granted. Always check with your local planning authority.
Find out here whether building regulation approval is required for your garden structure. Most do not, but it’s always advisable to check.
Should you require planning permission, you can use the government’s Planning Portal.
Do you need planning permission for a brick shed?
The same rules apply, whatever material is used for construction.
What is the maximum size shed without planning permission?
Put simply, in most cases you will not need planning permission if your shed is:
- under 2.5 metres tall at the eaves;
- intended for a use that’s incidental to the enjoyment of your house;
- situated in your back garden;
- away from property boundaries.
If you create a bedroom, install a toilet, or plan to run a business from the building, in all likelihood you will need planning permission.
But, it’s always worth giving your local planning authority a call to check.