Saturday, October 04, 2008

Planning permission - it's October now

No apologies for returning to this very important garden office subject. "As new planning regulations come into play this month," says Lynn Fotheringham from InsideOut Buildings (Leatherhead project pictured above), "we anticipate that more people will need planning permission to build a garden office, studio or shed. The new legislation is designed to protect neighbours from having to suffer large garden buildings hard up against their fence. However, the new rules may have some strange repercussions. Outside of Conservation Area and AONB you can build a series of ugly, 20 sq metre, 2.5m tall, flat roofed bunkers in your garden, without needing planning permission!"

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.”


  1. Taking that idea of the bunker, perhaps the building could be sunken into the ground by a small distance to get extra internal height without increasing the external height?

  2. Yes, I've been thinking of that too -- how to increase the height by setting it further into the ground. It would have a walk-down from the outside, eithers stairs or a ramp.

  3. Anonymous9:24 AM

    Thought about this myself but you need to be careful you are not creating a sink hole for the entire garden to drain water into.

  4. Anonymous1:54 PM

    I'm looking to put a pergola and shed (15 sqm) at the top of my garden along a patio that is adjacent to my neighbor.. He overlooks our garden in an elevated position. We are over the permitted development right as we have many building.. however if I put the shed on wheels (cators) does this bypass the above ?