Will I Need Planning Permission For My Summer House?
Guidelines from 1st October 2008 – Under the regulations from 1st October 2008, the following are considered to be permitted development, and don’t require planning permission, provided they adhere to the following:-
- No outbuilding to be forward of a wall forming the main elevation
- Outbuildings, garden sheds and garages to be single-storey and less than 2.5m to the eaves (gutter level) and no more than 4m to the ridge (top of apex or gable end) OR 3m for any other roof.
- Maximum height of 2.5m within 2 metres of your boundary
- Not taking up more than 50% of the land around the ‘original house’
- In National Parks, the Broads, and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the area covered must be less than 20 metres from the house and limited to 10 square metres
- Building Regulations
- Will not be applicable if the floor area of the building is less than 15 square metres AND contains NO sleeping accommodation
- If the building is between 15 and 30 square metres you would not normally require building regulations approval providing that the building is at least 1 metre from the boundary AND contains NO sleeping accommodation. Also, it must be constructed of substantially non-combustible materials.
Another thing to keep in mind is your neighbour’s reaction – always keep them informed of what’s happening, and be prepared to alter the plans you had for locating the building if they object – it’s better in the long run!
I’ve currently been watching a factual program on the BBC about the work of the local authority planning officers and their day to day decisions which they are making which affects their local communities. These decisions can involve significant scale planning developments right down to small garden sheds, fences and summer houses. They also are involved in retrospective planning applications where permission was not obtained when required. In a recent episode, a homeowner had been reported to the council about the size of his garden building in the corner of his property, if you can call it that as it was nearly 13ft tall. This building was used to house his collection of large vehicles for which he had a passion. On the corner of the building in his garden was a large lean-to structure which again was nearly 13ft tall. I think it did look too large for the garden.
The main reason for the objection was that the owner’s summerhouse backed onto a road at the side of his property. Usually, you would not need planning permission if your building is more than 2m (6ft 6in) from the boundary. As the new building was going to be built at the corner of the house away from the main entrance, he had assumed everything would be alright. However, the public road at the side also needed to be taken into account, and this is where the objectors thought they had a case. They also were concerned that the building was going to be used for commercial use as the homeowner was a truck mechanic.
The planning officers came to view the building and to see how it fitted into the corner of his property before any decision was taken. As there were so many local objectors, a retrospective planning application had to be made, and the decision would be taken by members of the council. The location of the summer building was noted and, as this was, more or less, hidden from the road, this had to be taken into account.
In discussions with planning officers about the case was raised that the building was not affecting anyone else, there was an existing corner summer house, and the reason they had bought the house was because of the significant ground which came with it. They pointed out that the home owner’s hobby was his collection of large vehicles, a little different to most. This collection included a large truck, an articulated vehicle which was being converted into a camper van, a UniMog, and a multi-purpose auto four-wheel drive large vehicle capable of crossing the Sahara desert.
At the council meeting, the applicant’s wife spoke on his behalf as applicants were allowed 3 minutes to plead their case. She argued that she was a great believer in the rights of people in general and was fighting for the retention of this building on the belief that everybody has the right to play in the garden with their Tonka Toys provide they are not upsetting anyone else. Even though this was a strange hobby, they were doing nothing wrong – just utilising the unused corner of the garden.
She must have swayed them to her thoughts as the building was granted retrospective planning permission much to the annoyance of some of their neighbours. This case just goes to show you need to be a little careful if there is any road or track nearby to where you want to build any buildings. If there is then a call to the local planning office will, hopefully, they won’t be any major problem.
Many years ago, one of 1st Choice Leisure Building’s customers has a similar problem. He had built a large summer house against his back fence, but there was a track running through to homes alongside his rear fence. Because of this, he had to obtain planning permission, which was not a great problem, essentially a paper exercise. The location of the garden building was visible by planning officers on the way to work. The council offices were just around the corner from where the wooden sunroom was located.