When we come to buying a garden shed, summerhouse or other garden building it is quite easy to just look at the glossy brochures, flashy web sites or, ideally and really recommended, visit a garden shed show room and think that is all there is to it. Besides paying for it, of course. You need also a decent base for your shed to ensure the longest of life because if you don't you will find your new garden building won't last as long as it should.
However, over and above every thing else, you need to think about whether planning permission is required. Over the years the regulations and guidelines have changed which reflects changing needs. Always consider any advice available and if in any doubt give your local planning officer a ring at your local council.
The main requirement is that your proposed garden shed or summerhouse is at least 2m away from the boundary IF the building is over 2.5m tall. Below 2.5m you can build next to the boundary. Where as most garden sheds and summerhouses are below 2.5m some aren't so always ask. You will find that decent garden building companies, such as 1st Choice Leisure Buildings, can reduce the height slightly to ensure you don't fall foul of this restriction.
In the following situations you would need planning permission for your new shed, summerhouse or outdoor building. If the property is a flat, maisonette or used for any business then planning permission will normally be required. You will also find if the gutters or foundations of the building intrude over your boundary then permission is likely to be required.
If you are thinking of living in there then this would require planning permission as well as building regulations approval. Usage as a business would sometimes be all right provided you are not employing people in there but ALWAYS check with your local planning officer to be sure.
The proposed garden shed, summerhouse or out building must not be forward of any wall forming the front of the original house, it must not be more than one storey high and no higher than 4 metres with an apex roof or 3m with a pent (single sloping) roof. It must not take up more than half your garden, must not have a raised decking of over 30cm (about 1 foot) or have a veranda or balcony. In most of these instances planning permission may be required so double check with your local planning officer.
Other instances where planning permission would be required for your new garden shed is if your property is a listed building, if it is on a conservation area or in a area of outstanding natural beauty. Your local planning officer again will provide guidance for these instances.
It's sometimes the case that a garden shed, summerhouse or other garden building have been erected without permission and you will find that the planning officer may require retrospective planning permission. This happened to an Unverston house owner who had erected a lean to garden shed without planning permission. The local planning officers granted permission in spite of local complaints who claimed the garden shed would increase the flooding risk in that area.
These same residents then claimed that the garden shed would be used to house pigeons, however, the local planning committee decided that the garden shed was not in breach of any regulations or guidelines. The reasoning for this was that scale of the garden shed in relation to the size of the house and garden area was not unreasonable. It could not be seen to be an over development of the land. It would seem that a degree of common shed has gone into this decision.
Clearly planning laws are there to protect the interests of the community in general, and this is important, however common senses needs to be the watch word, certainly to a garden shed. I would also advise speaking to your local planning officer informally if there is any doubt at all. They are usually happy to do that. Sometimes when asking about planning application for your new shed the planning officer would grant a letter of entitlement to give you peace of mind.
In all instances it's a good idea to let your neighbours know before your new garden shed or summerhouse arrives. This will ensure they can give their point of view and save possible friction afterwards which can grow to trouble for you. So best to work with others rather than fight against them.
The above advice is given in good faith based on my understanding of planning requirements after 36 years in the garden shed business. As I say always double check with your local planning officers to be 100% sure.