Lynn says she is expecting to see 85% of clients needing planning permission against a previous average of 75%. But what do the new regulations mean for people wanting to build a garden annexe? She explains:
"The fundamental point is that if you want to install a garden office or even a shed more than 2.5m/8ft 4in tall without planning permission, it must be 2 metres or more from any boundary. This will be difficult to acheive in a small,urban garden."She recommends that if you're thinking of investing in a garden office then check the criteria below and if your building ticks one or more of the points, you’ll need planning permission ("But if you’re proposing a good quality, well-designed building in a sensible, non-intrusive position, you’re very likely to get that permission.”).
So, from October 2008 you’ll need planning permission:
* If your garden building will sit forward of the principal elevation of your house, facing onto - and visible from - a highway. In other words, if it’s in the front garden
* If the height of the eaves - where the gutters are - is more than 2.5m, with an overall height of more than 4m for dual pitched roofs and more than 3m for mono-pitched roofs.
* If it is higher than 2.5m at the highest point and within 2m of a boundary. All buildings more than 2.5m tall must be at least 2m from the boundary. To avoid planning permission, they’d also have to comply with point 2.
* If it covers more than 30 square metres of floor space.
* If it covers more than 20 square metres in a garden that’s smaller than 100 square metres.
* In National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, if your building covers more than 10 square metres and it is more than 20m from your house.
* In designated areas, if your garden building is at the side of your house.
* If it is within the boundaries of a listed building.
* If you are in Conservation areas.
* If you want decking more than 30mm above level ground.
“A planning officer in Oxford recently revealed that because the new rules allow you to build an ugly, flat-roofed bunker less than 2.5m tall, anywhere in your garden without planning permission," says Lynn, "a beautiful, eco-friendly wooden building that needs planning permission would be viewed very positively by planners.”