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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

Unveiling Planning Permission: A Detailed Guide for Owners of Garden Workshops

For many people, having a garden with a timber workshop is their ideal setting. You now have enough space for your tools, lawnmowers, and gardening materials.

Planning permission is a continuous source of concern in the United Kingdom. Many people worry they won’t be able to create a garden without restrictions.

The answer is it depends. Planning approval is still required for certain garden workshops, but due to recent legal developments, most do not.

This guide aims to shed additional light on garden building planning authorisation. By the conclusion, you should be able to determine if you need planning clearance for your new construction.

Permitted Development Rights: Workshop Planning Permission

The Town and Country Planning Act was introduced in 2008 by the Labour administration. Its goal was to modernise antiquated planning regulations so that English residents could make easier changes to their homes.

People throughout the nation rejoiced as numerous objectionable planning restrictions vanished overnight. The lord of his castle was an Englishman again!

The statute expressly stated that local planning officials could not stop a development from proceeding if it met specific requirements. In other words, as long as they complied with the regulations, homeowners could erect timber workshops in their gardens.

Of course, the regulation didn’t only apply to garden workshops – garages and greenhouses were among the other domestic buildings covered by it. It meant that as long as an outbuilding enhanced the enjoyment of the house, anyone might erect one.

“Outbuildings” is the operative term here. Even after the 2008 act, private homeowners still needed to apply for planning clearance for modifications essential to the house’s operation. Today’s regulations, however, are far more lenient for those who wish to build extra buildings on their properties, including dog kennels, steam rooms, and heating tanks.

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What Guidelines Apply to Outbuildings in Permitted Development?

Permitted development legislation allows you to erect your structure without going through the formal planning process. Still, your strategies must adhere to the legal requirements.

The following is an exhaustive list of requirements that any new garden workshop needs to meet in order to be approved for development:

Only for Home Use

Your workshop can only be built for home use. In accordance with permitted development laws, you cannot create commercial workshops for production on your property.

Not a place to sleep

Building a wooden workshop with sleeping quarters is not possible. Buildings shouldn’t be used for overnight stays or more than one day’s worth of utilisation.

Restricted Size

Except for the house, the structure can only take up 50% of the garden’s total size, so it cannot cover your whole plot.

No Places Above Principal Elevation

The structure cannot be positioned in front of the front wall of your house, which is your front yard between the road and your frontage.

Height Restriction

Any garden workshop you construct 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 means that taller structures can be constructed but must fall within the maximum height guidelines. For example, a double-height workshop at the eaves cannot be built.


The building can only have one floor to meet the preceding requirement. Permitted development rights prohibit the construction of staircases, mezzanines, and second stories.

Within The Boundaries of The Property

Two metres should separate the workshop’s edge from the property line. Owners should avoid locating structures in the centre of expansive lawns or paved spaces.

Not a balcony or porch

Adding sitting rooms or garden areas to garden workshops resembling residential quarters is forbidden.

Enhanced Buildings 300 mm or smaller

The concrete base and raised elements cannot be more than 300 mm above the ground.

Not to exceed fifteen square metres

In general, wooden workshops shouldn’t be more than 15 square metres. However, more than thirty square metres of building space is subject to certain limitations. These are only allowed, though, in specific situations—for example, when new construction is added to an industrial or agricultural site. Planners find it challenging to approve extra-large constructions for typical residential plots.

.When do you need planning permission?

When the government granted development rights in 2008, it hoped to give households the option of erecting traditional garden buildings, which may include garden workshops. As a result, if you intend to do anything more than this, you will almost certainly need planning permission.

You’ll need planning clearance and permitted development rights to operate your workshop as a self-contained housing unit. According to planning standards, adding running water and other living amenities converts it into habitation. Adding insulation to your workshop is not a problem.

You will also need planning permission from your wooden workshop to run a home office for business purposes. 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.


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 garden workshops without needing planning permission.

  • It covers less than 10 square metres
  • It is more than 20 metres from any permanent dwelling house wall

Listed Buildings

Listed building rules also limit the scope of permitted construction. Even if your timber workshop meets the following standards, you still need Listed Building Consent.

There are three classifications of listed buildings.

  • Grade II
  • Grade II*
  • Grade I

Most listed buildings in England and Wales are Grade II. Grade II* is considered “national importance,” whereas Grade I is “exceptional importance.”

The local authority grants permission to work on listed buildings. All work within the property’s boundaries (or adjacent to them sometimes) requires permission, including constructing garden workshops.

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 ready-made or made of metal. Acceptable solutions may be expensive, but they will give you more space in your home.

Before acquiring a workshop 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.

Woodland Garden Buildings

Permitted development rights apply to sheds and workshops in woodlands, but the standards are stricter than those for residential gardens.

For example, demonstrate that it is “reasonably necessary” for woodland maintenance. Legitimate uses include storage for equipment and tools and a forestry management workspace.

You should also consider size. Woodland constructions have no size restrictions under the statute. However, planners typically approve buildings under 20 square metres.

Bathrooms and bedrooms.

Garden buildings with restrooms and beds are not subject to approved development rights. These constructions could be used as residences, necessitating further planning permission.

Installing toilets or washbasins in the workshop requires authorisation. If you include such items, local authorities may force you to demolish them.

.What Happens If You Violate Permitted Development Rules While Building a Garden Workshop?

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 workshop violates permissible development restrictions or lacks appropriate planning authority, they may take enforcement action. Buildings under construction will be issued a Stop Notice. Please cease building on the workshop immediately.

Owners of already completed buildings will receive an Enforcement Notice. This notice requires you to remove or modify 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 garden workshop.

Local councils typically avoid awarding fines for mistakes. You may incur penalties if you do not comply with planning laws promptly. Therefore, check the deadline on your Enforcement Notice. It should specify when you will be fined.

.Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find more information about the garden workshop’s approved development rules?

The government makes obtaining information on permitted development standards for sheds and other outbuildings is simple. GOV.UK website and PlanningPortal.co.uk
both offer advice. Local solicitors may occasionally supply crucial information.

Can I still sell my house if I don’t have planning permission for a garden structure that is not allowed development?

If you have planning permission for a garden building, it may be easier to sell your home. Violations of planning regulations might dissuade buyers and lower asking prices.

Can I connect a permitted development building to mains electricity?

Most wooden workshops constructed under permitted development have a mains electrical hookup. However, permitted development does not guarantee this entitlement. Instead, contact your local building control authorities to see if you can add cables and outlets under Building Regulations.

What happens if my building only meets some of the approved development rules?

Only build structures that meet all allowed development conditions to prevent notifications from the local authority. Nonetheless, you might seek a Lawful Development Certificate. These assist you in establishing whether your summerhouse’s violation of planning permission is legal. If so, it can remain standing.

.Is allowable development relevant to prefabricated buildings?

Yes, permitted development rights still apply to pre-built sheds.

What shed building materials are authorised under permitted development rights?

Permitted development rights apply independently of the materials used to create your garden workshop. As a result, you can use traditional wood, metal, or brick as needed.

Can you build a workshop in your garden?

Creating a workshop in your garden is an excellent method to increase storage and workspace. Your workshop must be designed for home usage only. According to approved development laws, garden workshops are classified as non-residential outbuildings; thus, planning approval is usually not required if specific criteria are met.

What is the maximum size of a shed without planning permission?

A modest workshop or outbuilding that is less than 15 square metres in size and has no sleeping accommodation inside does not usually require Building Regulations Consent. Buildings of up to 30 square metres are permitted under specific conditions. For more information, see the Planning Portal’s advice on outbuildings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Planning Garden Workshops

No results!
  • Can the council order me to remove my workshop?

    The council can demolish your garden structure if you do not obtain planning permission and it breaches permitted development restrictions. However, situations in which you must remove the entire building are exceptional. Sometimes, you can ask for retrospective planning permission. Here, you apply for planning permission after you’ve built it, and the local council grants it retroactively. Minor changes may be necessary to ensure compliance with approved development standards. These could include moving it to a better place or decreasing its height.
  • Can you legally live in a workshop in the UK?

    Constructing a rule-compliant shed is achievable, and garden sheds and workshops are considered permanent structures. Nevertheless, the HomeOwners Alliance emphasises the importance of obtaining planning permission for a building, as it can be lengthy due to regulatory limitations.
  • Do I need planning permission for a workshop in my garden?

    Planning permission requirements for garden workshops vary depending on size, location, and intended use. Generally, workshops smaller than 30 square metres and not used for sleeping accommodation are likely to be permitted development. However, it is recommended to check with the local planning department to ensure compliance with regulations. Planning permission may be necessary if the workshop exceeds size limits or is intended for business use.

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.

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