Earlybird delivery discount: Check out reductions available on this page. Take advantage now.
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Earlybird delivery discount: Check out reductions available on this page. Take advantage now.
Now is the time to pick up an ex-display building during our annual sale. See remaining models here At LEAST 30% Off

Earlybird delivery discount: Check out reductions available on this page. Take advantage now.
Now is the time to pick up an ex-display building during our annual sale. See remaining models here At LEAST 30% Off

Unveiling Planning Permission: A Complete Guide for Garden Room Owners

Many individuals want to have a room to relax. Finally, you have enough area for gardening materials, lawnmowers, equipment, and, importantly, the space to relax.

Unfortunately, planning authorisation is an ongoing issue in the United Kingdom. Many people are concerned about their abilities to design a garden structure without constraints.

It depends on the response. Most garden rooms no longer require planning approval due to legislative advancements. See our full range of garden rooms.

The following guide clarifies the process of obtaining planning permission for garden buildings. By the end, you should understand whether you need planning clearance for your new construction.

Planning Permission: Garden Building Development Rights

The Labour government introduced the Town and Country Planning Act in 2008. Its purpose was to update outmoded planning procedures and make house alterations easier for English citizens.

Many harsh planning laws went overnight, much to the surprise of nationwide residents. An Englishman once again ruled his citadel!

The regulation stated that local planning officials could not block the development progress if it matched certain criteria. Individuals were permitted to build garden structures in their homes, provided they followed restrictions.

The rule encompassed domestic structures such as cottages, garages, greenhouses, and leisure buildings. It meant anyone could build an outbuilding if it added to the home’s charm.

The key word here is “outbuildings”. Even after the 2008 act, private homeowners still needed to obtain planning clearance for alterations necessary for the house’s functioning. However, current laws are significantly more forgiving for homeowners who want to construct new structures on their property, such as dog kennels, steam rooms, and heating tanks.

Painted Options
Painted summerhouse
Insulated Range
Insulated Range
Summerhouse Sheds
Combo garden house Shed
Show Rooms
Surreyshow rooms

What are the regulations for outbuildings in permitted development?

Permitted development legislation allows you to create your structure without going through typical planning processes. However, your proposals must adhere to legal limits. This list outlines the prerequisites for new garden rooms to be approved for development:

For home use only.

The summer building can only be utilised for residential purposes. Permitted development laws do not allow you to construct commercial workshops for production purposes on your property.

There aren’t any sleeping accommodations.

It is not allowable to build a room with a sleeping area. Structures should not be used as houses; they should be used during the day or sometimes at night.

Restricted dimensions

The construction cannot cover more than half of the garden (excluding the residence) or the entire plot.

Nothing Is Above The Principal Elevation

The structure cannot be built in front of your house’s front wall, which is the portion of your front yard that connects your house’s façade to the street.

Height restrictions

Any summerhouse you build must be:

  • Less than 2.5 metres tall at the eaves
  • Less than 4 metres tall at the highest point if dual-pitched
  • Less than 3 metres tall in any other case

The rule states that taller constructions can be built but must adhere to maximum height standards. Double-height buildings at the eaves are not permitted.

One Level

The building can only have one storey to meet the preceding criteria. Under allowed development rights, staircases, mezzanines, and second stories are prohibited.

Inside the property’s boundaries

The building’s edge should be two metres from the property line. Avoid locating them in the centre of broad lawns or paved areas.

There is no porch or balcony.

Extensions to garden structures that resemble residential spaces, such as sitting rooms or planting areas, are prohibited.

Enhanced Structures 300 mm or smaller

Raised components, including the concrete base, are limited to 300 mm above ground level.

What size may a garden room be without planning permission?

They should not exceed 15 square metres in size. Restrictions apply to structures greater than 30 square metres. However, these are only permitted under limited instances, such as when new structures are constructed on an industrial or agricultural site. Planners are hesitant to approve extra-large constructions on standard residential lands.

How close to the boundary can I build a garden room?

You can build close to the fence if the building is less than 2.5m tall and does not violate the abovementioned restrictions. We suggest leaving roughly 30cm to give access to treat the structure. It is also highly suggested that you speak with your neighbours about your plans. This is optional, but it is a good thing to do.

When is planning authorisation required?

When the government adopted approved development rights in 2008, the goal was to allow households to build traditional garden buildings such as leisure rooms. However, if you want to go beyond this, you’ll probably need planning permission.

You must obtain planning approval and permitted construction rights to operate your garden room as a self-contained housing unit. According to planning standards, adding running water and other living amenities converts it into habitation.

To operate a home office from your garden building, which will need to be insulated for all year round use,, you will also require planning clearance. If you work alone, planners will swiftly permit you to construct this type of garden structure. However, obtaining authorisation to meet with clients may prove more problematic.

It is suitable for keeping household animals such as birds, dogs, cats, and hens. However, the animals must be kept for your enjoyment. They cannot be commercially sold as meat. If you want to maintain cattle for production purposes, you will require planning permission, which can be difficult to obtain unless you live in an agriculturally zoned area.

Exceptions

Permitted development laws apply to the vast majority of UK residential dwellings. However, other laws, ordinances, and customs apply in a few situations.

Designated Land

Current rules do not allow you to exploit your full permitted development rights in:

  • National parks (e.g., Lake District, New Forest, and Dartmoor)
  • Areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) like the Howardian Hills or North Pennine.
  • World Heritage Sites (historic monuments)
  • Conversation Areas

However, certain rights may still be available. For example, in certain places, you may be able to build one without needing planning permission.

  • It covers less than 10 square meters.
  • It is over 20 metres from any permanent dwellinghouse wall.

Listed Buildings

Listed building rules also limit the scope of permitted construction. Listed Building Consent is still required, even if your building meets the above standards (source: https://www.blbsolicitors.co.uk/blog/listed-building-consent/).

There are three classifications of listed buildings.

  • Grade II
  • Grade II*
  • Grade I

The majority of listed buildings in England and Wales are Grade II. Grade II* indicates “national importance,” while Grade I indicates “exceptional importance.”

The local authority grants permission to work on listed buildings. All work within the property’s boundaries (or adjacent to them in some cases) requires permission, including the construction of sheds.

Planners give consent on an individual basis. Their main worry is the impact on the building’s historical character.

Most planners opt for designs that mimic or improve the old building’s style. As a result, refrain from attempting to construct anything readymade or made of metal. Acceptable solutions may be costly, but they will provide you with extra space in your home.

Before acquiring a garden room for a listed structure, consult with your local Conservation Officer. This official can help you submit appropriate designs and materials for your proposed building, but they cannot guarantee that you will receive planning permission.

The Woodland Garden Buildings

Permitted development rights apply to all buildings in woodlands, but the standards are stricter compared to residential gardens.

To obtain listed building consent, you must demonstrate that it is “reasonably necessary” for woodland upkeep. Equipment, tool storage, and a workspace for forestry management are all legitimate uses.

You should also consider size. The Act does not specify size requirements for woodland constructions. However, planners are more likely to authorise buildings smaller than 20 square metres.

The bathrooms and bedrooms.

Garden buildings with restrooms and beds do not fall under approved development rights. These constructions could be used as residences, necessitating further planning permission. Installing a toilet or sink in a building requires prior approval. If you include such items, local authorities may require removal.

What Happens If You Break Permitted Development Rules When Building An Outbuilding?

Always check with your local planning authority (LPA) before beginning construction to ensure your plans meet their requirements. Local governments will take legal action if they discover that you have breached permitted development restrictions.

If authorities find that your building violates permissible development restrictions or lacks appropriate planning authority, they may take enforcement action. Buildings under construction will receive a Stop Notice. Please stop building on the garden room immediately.

Owners of already completed buildings will receive an Enforcement Notice. This notice requires you to remove or alter the building to comply with the rules.

The severity of these notices depends on how much you diverge from allowed development rights. In exceptional cases, you may need to completely remove the summer house.

Local councils typically avoid awarding fines for mistakes. However, penalties may only apply if you comply with planning laws on time. Therefore, check the deadline on your Enforcement Notice. It should specify when you will be fined.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Planning Garden Rooms

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  • Can neighbours object to a garden room?

    Neighbours can object to a garden room if it breaches planning regulations, impacts their privacy, or causes excessive noise or disruption. To avoid potential objections and conflicts in the future, it is advisable to consult with neighbours and local authorities before proceeding with the construction. Prior communication and adherence to relevant guidelines can help mitigate objections from neighbours regarding any installation on your property.
  • How big can a garden room be without planning permission?

    In the UK, a garden room can be up to 50% of the total land area surrounding the original property without requiring planning permission. This means that if you have a 100-square-metre garden, your building can be up to 50 square metres to be considered permissible under the permitted development rules. It's important to note that this percentage may vary depending on specific local regulations, so it's advisable to consult with your local planning authority before proceeding with construction.
  • What are the building rules for a garden room?

    When building a garden room, ensure compliance with local regulations regarding size, height, distance from property lines, and applicable permits. Consider the impact on neighbours and the environment, adhering to any restrictions. Use quality materials and construction methods to ensure durability and safety. Seek professional advice, if needed, to guarantee compliance with relevant planning restrictions and avoid potential issues in the future.

About Author:

Robin Antill is an established authority in the field of quality garden building manufacturing, boasting over four decades of experience. Having founded Titan Garden Buildings in 1979, he demonstrated a commitment to excellence from the outset by moving away from subpar materials and embarking on crafting buildings of superior quality.


His lineage of craftsmanship, traced back to his father and grandfather's business in Cleethorpes, underscores his dedication to quality and customer satisfaction. Robin's son, Craig, who joined the business in 1990, brings additional expertise, having honed his skills at Guildford College in joinery.


Together, they elevated Titan Garden Buildings, which eventually evolved into 1st Choice Leisure Buildings. Their enduring focus on premium materials, top-notch manufacturing, and unparalleled customer service, along with Craig's digital acumen in creating the company's online presence, showcase their expertise and reliability in the industry.


Robin’s expertise was featured in Realtor.com, Homes&Gardens, The London Economic, and dozens other publications.


Woking Show Site
1st Choice Leisure Buildings
Woking Garden Buildings Show Site
Sutton Green Garden Centre,
Whitmoor Ln, Sutton Green,
Guildford,
GU4 7QA
Phone 01483 237550