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

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 Comprehensive Guide for Garden Shed Owners.

Many individuals dream of having a shed in their garden. Finally, you have enough place for your gardening materials, mowers, and equipment.

Unfortunately, in the UK, planning permission is a perennial cause of concern. Many people are concerned about their ability to design a garden structure without constraints.

The response is, “It depends.” Many garden sheds no longer require planning clearance due to legal advancements.

This guide’s objective is to provide additional information about the garden building planning authority. By the end, you should understand whether you need planning clearance for your new construction.

Planning Permission: Allowed Development Rights for a Garden Shed.

The Labour government introduced the Town and Country Planning Act in 2008. It aimed to update outmoded planning procedures and make house changes easier for English people.

Many harsh planning laws went overnight, much to the surprise of residents around the country. An Englishman once again governed his castle!

The regulation specifically stated that local planning officials could not block the progress of development as long as it met specific standards. Individuals were permitted to build garden structures at their homes, provided they followed restrictions.

The law encompassed residential structures beyond garden sheds, such as cabins, garages, and greenhouses. 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 were required to obtain planning clearance for improvements necessary for the house’s functioning. However, current laws are significantly more forgiving for homeowners who want to develop new structures on their property, such as dog kennels, steam rooms, and heating tanks.

Painted Options
Painted building
Insulated Range
Insulated Range
Combo Workshops
Combo Shed
Garden Buildings Show Rooms
Shed show rooms

What are the rules governing outbuildings in permitted development?

Permitted development legislation allows you to create your structure without going through standard planning processes. However, your proposals must adhere to legal limits. To be permitted for development, new sheds must meet the following requirements:

For home use only

Your garden building can only be used for residential purposes. Under permitted development laws, building commercial workshops for production use on your land is not permissible.

Lack of sleeping accommodations

It is not possible to build a shed with a sleeping area. Structures should not be used as houses; instead, they should be used during the day.

Restricted dimensions

The structure cannot cover more than half of the garden area (excluding the residence). It cannot include the entire plot.

Nothing 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 is restricted

Garden sheds must meet the following requirements:

  • 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 structures can be built, but they must adhere to the maximum height standards. A double-height structure at the eaves is not allowed.


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

Does a shed need to be 1 metre from boundary?

If the building has a maximum height of 2.5m it can normally go next to the boundary. The shed’s edge should be two metres from the property line if it does not meet the above criteria. Avoid locating buildings in the centre of broad lawns or paved areas.

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 less

Raised components, such as the concrete base, cannot exceed 300 mm above the ground.

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

Garden sheds should not exceed 15 square metres in size. There are limits on constructions 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.

When Do You Need Planning Permission?

When the government introduced permitted development rights in 2008, it wanted people to be free to construct a traditional garden shed. Therefore, if you want to do anything beyond this, you will almost certainly need planning permission.

For example, planning permission beyond permitted development rights is necessary if you intend your garden shed, which is likely to be insulated, to function as a self-contained dwelling unit. Under planning rules, running water and other living facilities will transform it into accommodation.

You also need planning permission to run a home office from your shed for business purposes. Planners can quickly grant this garden shed planning permission if you work alone. However, getting the go-ahead may be more challenging if you need to meet with clients.

You can keep domestic animals in your shed, including birds, dogs, cats, and poultry. However, they must be for your enjoyment. You cannot sell the animals commercially for meat. If you want to keep livestock for production, you will require planning permission and getting this permission can be challenging unless you live in an area designated as agricultural land.


Permitted development rules apply to most residential dwellings in the UK. However, there are exceptions where other laws, ordinances and regulations apply.

Designated Land

Current rules don’t let you apply full permitted development rights in:

  • National parks (such as the Lake District, New Forest, And Dartmoor)
  • Areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs), such as the Howardian Hills or North Pennine
  • World Heritage Sites (such as historic monuments)
  • Conversation areas

Even so, some rights may still be available. For example, you may be able to erect a shed in these areas without planning permission if:

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

The government imposes these restrictions to ensure that developments are sympathetic to the character of the designated area. Usually, common sense determines what developments can proceed under permitted development rights.

Listed Buildings

Listed building regulations also limit the scope of permitted development. Even if your shed meets the above criteria, you will still need Listed Building Consent.

There are three grades 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,” while Grade I are “exceptional importance.”

Listed building consent is permission granted by the local authority for work on these buildings. The need for consent covers all work within the property’s boundaries (or adjacent to it in some cases), including the erection of sheds.

Planners give consent on a case-by-case basis. Their primary consideration is how the shed will impact the building’s historic character.

Most planners will favour designs that reflect or enhance the original building’s style. Therefore, try to avoid building anything prefab or made of metal. Acceptable options may be costly, but they can provide additional space on your property.

Before buying a shed for a listed building, consult your local Conservation Officer. This official can help you submit acceptable designs and materials for your proposed building, but they cannot guarantee you will receive planning permission.

Woodland Sheds

Permitted development rights extend to sheds in woodlands, but development conditions are stricter for residential gardens.

For example, you must demonstrate that the shed is “reasonably necessary” for woodland maintenance. Legitimate uses include equipment and tool storage and as a workspace for forestry management.

You must also factor in size considerations. Woodland sheds don’t face any explicit size restrictions under the statute, but planners are more likely to approve sheds under 20 square metres.

Can I put a toilet and shower in my shed? What About Bathrooms And Bedrooms

Finally, sheds with bathrooms and bedrooms also fall outside the permitted development rights scope. These structures could function as dwellings and require separate planning permission.

Only install a toilet or sink in your shed if you have permission. Including such features might cause local authorities to force you to remove them.

What Happens If You Break Permitted Development Rules When Building A Shed?

Always check with your local planning authority (LPA) before you build to ensure your plans meet their requirements. Local councils will respond with legal force if they discover you have broken shed permitted development rules.

Enforcement action is the most likely outcome if officers discover your shed breached permitted development rules and didn’t receive proper planning permission. Buildings under construction will receive a Stop Notice. This document tells you to halt construction work on the shed immediately.

Owners of sheds already completed will receive an Enforcement Notice. These tell you to remove or modify the shed to comply with regulations.

The severity of these notices will depend on how far you stray from permitted development rights. In rare cases, you may need to take down the shed completely.

Most local authorities try to avoid issuing fines if they believe you made a mistake. However, you may receive a penalty if you don’t comply with planning rules in good time. Therefore, check the deadline on your Enforcement Notice. It should tell you when fines will apply.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find more information on shed permitted development rules?

The government makes finding information on permitted development rules for sheds and other outbuildings straightforward. You can get guidance on GOV.UK website and PlanningPortal.co.uk
. Local solicitors will also sometimes provide helpful information.

Can the council make me take down my shed?

The council has the right to remove your shed if you didn’t get planning permission and the structure falls outside permitted development rules. However, cases where you must remove the entire structure are rare.

Sometimes, you can apply for retrospective planning permission. Here, you apply for planning permission after you build your shed, and the local authority will use it retroactively.

In other situations, you can make small changes to the shed to bring it into line with permitted development criteria. These could involve moving it to a more suitable location or reducing its height.

Can I still sell my property if I don’t get planning permission on a shed that doesn’t fall under permitted development?

You may experience difficulty selling your property if you don’t get planning permission on a shed that doesn’t fall under permitted development. Sheds violating planning rules can put off future owners or give them a reason to lower their asking price.

Do I need a permit to run electricity to my shed UK?

Most sheds constructed under permitted development have a mains electricity connection. However, permitted development doesn’t guarantee this right. Instead, you should seek permission from your local building control authority and see if you can add wires and sockets under Building Regulations.

What happens if my shed meets some permitted development rules but not all of them?

Generally, sheds should only be built that meet all the permitted development criteria to avoid receiving notices from the local authority. Nevertheless, you can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC). These let you establish whether your shed’s breach of planning permission is lawful. If it is, then the shed can remain standing.

Does permitted development apply to pre-build sheds?

Yes, permitted development rights still apply to pre-built sheds. Reputable manufacturers ensure they comply with the criteria or will advise you if models require planning permission.

What shed construction materials qualify under permitted development rights?

Permitted development rights apply regardless of the material you use to construct your shed. Therefore, you can use traditional wood slats, metal or brick as you see fit.

The above advice is given in good faith based on my understanding of planning requirements after 45 years in the garden shed business. As I say always double check with your local planning officers to be 100% sure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Planning Garden Sheds

No results!
  • What happens if my building meets some but not all of the approved development rules?

    To avoid receiving notifications from the local authority, only build structures that meet all approved development conditions. Nonetheless, you may apply for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC). These allow you to determine whether your summerhouse’s infringement of planning approval is legal. If so, it can stay standing.
  • What shed construction materials are allowed under permitted development rights?

    Permitted development rights apply regardless of what materials you employ to build your summerhouse. As a result, you can use classic wood cladding, metal, or brick as desired.
  • What size garden shed can I build without planning permission?

    In the UK, you can build a garden shed without planning permission if it meets specific criteria. The size limitations are 2.5 metres for a flat roof and 4 metres for a dual-pitched roof. If the structure is within 2 metres of the property's boundary, the entire building must not exceed 2.5 metres high. If the shed doesn't meet these requirements, you may need to apply for planning permission before constructing it.

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,
Phone 01483 237550