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Planning Permission Guide

Complete Package tailored to you > Planning Permission Guide

The Ultimate Guide to Planning Permission for Garden Buildings

When you are thinking of investing in a garden room or summer house, there are so many factors to take into account. The style, size and cost of the building of your dreams will all need careful consideration.

One question that needs answering is whether or not you will need planning permission for a building in your garden.

Video: Complete Guide to Planning Permission for Garden Buildings in the UK



Planning Permission for Garden Buildings

Bakers Timber Buildings is already established as a leading expert in the field of garden rooms. We offer a complete package to make the process as smooth as possible and with no surprises.  

So now we have created this Ultimate Guide to Planning Permission for Garden Buildings to ensure you have all the answers you need on the subject.

We want your garden room to be special, an investment to your property that increases its value and appeal. This guide will, we hope, enable you to choose a garden building that really works for you, your family and friends for years to come.

 garden room dimensison

A Quick Introduction to Planning Permission

If you are planning to construct a new building, or to change the use of a piece of land, in the UK you may need to get permission to do so from your local authority.

Permission is granted – or denied – based on the policies outlined and implemented by national law and the local council’s development plan.

If planning permission is required, you need to make a formal application to your local authority, including diagrams, explaining why you think you should be allowed to proceed. 

An officer from the town hall will assess your application and decide whether or not permission should be granted in this case.

 garden room with bifolding door

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Garden Room or Summer House?

The good news is that for the vast, overwhelming majority of garden rooms we create, planning permission is not required because there are national “permitted development” rights.

The even better news is that Bakers Timber Buildings has the knowledge and expertise to advise you whether or not you will have to share your design with the local planning department.

We have in-depth knowledge of the relevant rules and can ensure that the building you want to erect in your garden is compliant with them.

 garden room with sliding door

Garden Building Regulations

As well as being aware of planning rules, you should also take into account building regulations.

Planning rules oversee the way towns and cities are developed, while building regulations govern standards in the design and constructions of buildings to ensure their safety and efficiency.

As we will explain, there are times when planning rules might say your garden building is permissible, but under building regulations, it will not be allowed.


Under What Circumstances Will I need Planning Permission?

You will need to seek planning permission if the building you want to construct in your garden does not conform to the following restrictions:

1. Area: Planning rules say you can cover up to half your garden. However, under building regulations, the maximum floor space your unregulated garden building is allowed to cover is 30 square metres. That sounds like a large area, but if you want a combination room that gives you more than one function, such as a lounge and a gym, or an office and a bathroom, this may become a consideration. You could, of course, have more than one building. 


2. Height: The maximum height of your building depends on its proximity to neighbouring properties. If you want your garden room less than two metres from your boundary, the maximum overall height is 2.5metres from the highest ground next to the building, assuming you do not build a platform above 300mm. But if you are able to build more than two metres from all boundaries, you can have:

  • A maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres
  • A pent roof of up to 3.0 metres
  • A peak of an apex roof up to 4.0 metres

3. Proximity: Planning rules suggest you can build as close as you like to the border between your property and your neighbour. Building regulations, however, prefer you to leave at least one metre between you and the boundary to be made from a non-combustible material. You will also need planning permission if you want your garden room to be closer to the road than the front of your house is.


4. Location: You will face restrictions if you live in a listed building, or if your house is in a national park, an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) or a conservation area. Those restrictions are as follows:

  • National parks and AONBs: Within 20m of the rear of the house, or less than 10 square metres
  • Conservation areas: Directly behind the house
  • Listed buildings: Planning permission is always required

5. Use: Your new garden room cannot be used as self-contained living accommodation. It may not become, in effect, a separate address or dwelling.

With regard to all these restrictions, Bakers Timber Buildings is perfectly placed to advise you how to avoid the pitfalls and how to proceed if you do require planning permission.

 planning rules for apex building

How we can help you to obtain planning permission

If it becomes clear that your circumstances mean that you will need planning permission, Bakers Timber Buildings can steer you through every step of the process.

Our planning adviser will visit your home, make a survey of the garden and devise an application that has the best chance of success.

We will deliver a set of drawings of the proposed building to you, then make the application on your behalf.

If your garden room complies with all the rules and regulations but you still have concerns, we can acquire a permitted development certificate. This document proves to you and to any other interested parties that your garden room is fully compliant.

This is a great idea when you have an awkward neighbour, or if your spend is significant; an Endless Pool ® room or shower room at poolside, for example.

 planning rules for pent building

Do You Need Planning Permission for a Garden Office?

More and more people enjoy the flexibility of being able to work from home some or all of the time.

Bakers Timber Buildings designs and delivers contemporary workspaces that can be used 12 months of the year and are extremely cosy – whatever the British weather can throw at them.

We also create workshops, garden salons and therapy rooms where our customers can carry out their business.

If your proposed garden office plans are compliant with all the criteria listed above, there is no reason why you should need planning permission. We will, of course, be happy to advise you on this matter.

 garden office

Planning Permission for Sheds

The shed has been an institution in British gardens for decades. We love our sheds; latest figures suggest we spend more than 60 million hours a week in them.

Bakers Timber Buildings offers a wide range of garden sheds, which can be used for a variety of purposes.

It is highly likely you will be able to erect a garden shed without planning permission. But, as ever, we will be on hand to discuss your exact requirements and put your mind at rest on the subject.



Why Do I Need Planning Permission for my Garden Building?

In most cases, you don’t. But there are certain restrictions to which your garden room must conform – around size, height and location in particular – of which you should be aware before proceeding.


What is the maximum permitted size without planning permission?

The maximum area of floor space you are allowed without planning permission if 50 per cent of the garden or 30 square metres for every single unregulated building. The height will depend on the location of your room – please see above for details.


How close to boundaries can I build my Garden Building?

Under planning rules, you can locate your garden room as close to the boundary as you like. Building regulations, however, suggest you should leave a metre between your room and the border or construct it from a non-combustible material.


Do I need Planning Permission for Garden Buildings near Listed Buildings?

If your property is listed, planning – and possibly listed building consent – will be required for any garden building.


Where do I find the rules for garden building planning

You will find the rules on the government planning portal


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Covering Brighton, Crawley, Haywards Heath, Croydon, London, Sussex, Surrey, Kent and throughout southeast England and the UK.


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