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Do I need Planning Permission for Outbuildings?


The planning laws that relate to outbuildings cover summer houses, sheds, greenhouses, garages and many other form of structures that are for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse.

Adding an outbuilding to your home can significantly increases your living space. it can provide you with the peace and quiet to tend to your hobby or serve as storage or any other ancillary use to your home. Placed at the back of your garden, a summer house can allow you to enjoy the beauty of your garden from a different perspective, especially if it combined with a complementary patio area.

The possibilities and uses of outbuildings are endless. But whether you are building a new conservatory or rebuilding an existing one, it is important to be informed of the relevant planning permission and regulations before commencing work.

Permitted Development For Outbuildings

New rules regarding whether or not you can extend or add to your home without having to apply for planning permission for an outbuilding came into force on 1 October 2008.

The New limits and conditions for what is allowed without the need for planning permission apply largely to the dimensions of the proposed addition, its position in relation to the house and its proximity to the boundaries of the property.

Under the new regulations constructing an outbuilding that is not within designated land is considered permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, providing it meets the following limits and conditions:


An outbuilding can not be constructed on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.

Outbuildings and garages to be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of four metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof.

Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, enclosure or container  within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.

No more than half the area of land around the "original house"* would be covered by additions or other buildings.


In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20 metres from house to be limited to 10 square metres.

On designated land buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of properties will require planning permission.

Within the curtilage of listed buildings any outbuilding will require planning permission.


Outbuilding Eaves and Roof Height

Maximum eaves height should be no higher than the eaves of the existing house.


The highest part of an outbuilding (including cresting and finials) should be no higher than the roof ridge line of the existing house.


If the proposed outbuilding is within two meters of the property boundary, maximum eaves height should be no higher than 3 meters to be considered permitted development.


Outbuilding Finishing

The finishing details are all-important and can make all the difference between success and failure of an application.


Great care must be taken if you choose to incorporate cresting's and finials into your design., these are the decorative architectural devices often seen on the roof conservatories and some outbuildings. The finial is the pointed feature at the front of the apex and the cresting is the piece running along the ridge of the roof.


There are specific designs that accompany different periods of architecture and it would be a real shame for an application to be rejected on the basis of a simple architectural faux pas on the roof.


It would be significantly cheaper to submit a planning application for your outbuilding with plans specifically designed in accordance with current planning rules, rather than simply submit an architect’s plans that may be rejected forcing you to have them heavily revised, significantly adding to your costs.



Outbuilding Materials

Planning and conservation officers generally find it easier to approve plans for a new or replacement outbuilding where the materials to be used in construction will compliment the appearance to the main building and those in its immediate surroundings.


This means using similar bricks and stones for the walls of an outbuilding to match the main building materials of your home or using natural materials such as timber to create a harmonious design.


Plastic and uPVC outbuildings will usually be frowned upon, as will outbuildings with plans for poly carbonate roof glazing.


You may need to paint the exterior woodwork of an outbuilding to match th existing window frames and doors of your home, but if it is to constructed from oak or other hardwood, you may be allowed to leave it and let it weather with time and gradually blend in with the area.


Building a Outbuilding in a Conservation Area

If you have been living in a conservation area for some time you are likely to be aware of the regulations that apply in your area and how they restrict home improvement projects.


However if you are looking to purchase a new property or have have recently moved into the area, these restrictions may come as news to you. On the other hand, one of your motivations in purchasing your new home may well be  the unique character of the property and surrounding area which the preservation and conservation status has provided.


It is important to understand, conservation areas are not intended to lock an area in the past as a form of living museum. New development is often permitted but it will have to be undertaken sympathetically to conform to the existing environment.


If you are planning to build an outbuilding in a conservation area or demolish an existing one that you plan to replace, it is absolutely necessary to obtain the required conservation area consent prior to beginning any works on your outbuilding. Going ahead without this may result in a fine or imprisonment, or both.



For a FREE feasibility into your proposed outbuilding, please call 0208 202 3665 to talk to one of our expert consultants

At Drawing and Planning, our consultants have extensive knowledge and expertise in the various planning regulations and restrictions that relate to all forms of outbuildings.


Our team of consultants are here to help you understand all the regulations and restrictions that apply to outbuildings.


Should your proposals for an outbuilding need  planning permission, we would be glad to assist you with all elements of your application.


If you would require drawing only, our in house architects can provide you with detailed existing and proposed drawings for all types of outbuildings.


Call Drawing and Planning with your query today 0208 202 3665


Planning permission granted at : 19 Boston Gardens, Brentford, London, TW8, 2014-04-30

Drawing and Planning have successfully secured planning permission for the erection of a rear roof extension with hip-to-gable conversion and front roof windows. Erection of a single storey rear extension and a single storey detached summer house within the rear garden. Click Here to See Our Full Range of Planning Services  in Hounslow Council      Project : Rear roof extension with hip-to-gable conversion and front roof windows. single storey rear extension and a single storey detached summer house within the rear garden   Location : 19 Boston Gardens, Brentford, London, TW8   Council : Hounslow         Need Planning Permission? Call us today on 0208 202 3665 to talk to one of expert consultant and learn how we can help you get Planning Permission.

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Planning permission granted at : Fairmead Crescent, Edgware, HA8, 2014-04-29

Drawing and Planning have successfully secured planning permission for the Erection of two semi-detached dwelling houses with rooms in roof space and including 2no. allocated off street parking, refuse storage and rear amenity spaces following demolition of existing house and garage. Click Here to See Our Full Range of Planning Services  in Barnet Council      Project : Two semi-detached dwelling houses with rooms in roof space   Location : 1 Fairmead Crescent, Edgware, Middlesex, HA8 8YH   Council : Barnet         Need Planning Permission? Call us today on 0208 202 3665 to talk to one of expert consultant and learn how we can help you get Planning Permission.

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Planning permission granted at : Sequoia Park, Harrow, HA5, 2014-04-29

Drawing and Planning have successfully secured planning permission for the Conversion of garage to habitable room and external alterations. Click Here to See Our Full Range of Planning Services  in Harrow Council      Project : Conversion of garage to habitable room and external alterations   Location : Sequoia Park, Harrow, HA5   Council : Harrow         Need Planning Permission? Call us today on 0208 202 3665 to talk to one of expert consultant and learn how we can help you get Planning Permission.

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Planning permission granted at : Mayfield Gardens, Ealing, W7, 2014-04-29

  Drawing and Planning have successfully secured planning permission for the Rear roof extension (incorporating a juliet balcony) (Application for a Certificate of Lawfulness for a Purposed Development). Click Here to See Our Full Range of Planning Services  in Ealing Council      Project : Rear roof extension (incorporating a juliet balcony) (Application for a Certificate of Lawfulness for a Purposed Development).   Location : 129 Mayfield Gardens, Ealing, W7   Council : Ealing         Need Planning Permission? Call us today on 0208 202 3665 to talk to one of expert consultant and learn how we can help you get Planning Permission.

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Planning permission granted at : 165 Bathurst Gardens, Brent, NW10, 2014-04-29

Drawing and Planning have successfully secured planning permission for the Erection of a single storey side and rear extension with decking to rear of dwellinghouse. Click Here to See Our Full Range of Planning Services  in Brent Council      Project : Erection of a single storey side and rear extension with decking to rear of dwellinghouse.   Location : 165 Bathurst Gardens, Brent, NW10   Council : Brent         Need Planning Permission? Call us today on 0208 202 3665 to talk to one of expert consultant and learn how we can help you get Planning Permission.

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Planning permission granted at : 105 Long Lane, Ickenham, UB10, 2014-04-29

Drawing and Planning have successfully secured planning permission for the Single storey rear extension and conversion of roof space to habitable use to include a rear dormer and one side roof light.. Click Here to See Our Full Range of Planning Services  in Hillingdon Council      Project : Single storey rear extension and conversion of roof space to habitable use to include a rear dormer and one side roof light.   Location : 105 Long Lane, Ickenham, UB10   Council : Hillingdon         Need Planning Permission? Call us today on 0208 202 3665 to talk to one of expert consultant and learn how we can help you get Planning Permission.

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Planning Reforms Going Down a Bad Road, Says Motion, 2013-11-10

Sir Andrew Motion has accused the government’s planning reforms of having a direct correlation to the increase in vandalism of the countryside. Sir Andrew is a rural campaigner and a former poet laureate, turned activist when it comes to planning reforms that could potentially harm the environment and the landscapes of the United Kingdom. Sir Andrew has insisted that the current planning reforms are allowing too much of the beautiful landscapes in the country to be ploughed over and replaced with buildings and developments. Sir Andrews main argument is that one day the landscapes will be no more than memories, pages in a book. The changes made by the coalition to the planning permissions have caused nearly all development to be seen not only as acceptable, but as a good thing for the country. The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is concerned about how the relaxation of planning laws is failing local communities and causing harm to local landscapes and is urging the public and politicians to make moves for change. Sir Andrew made his comments publicly in the most recent report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). The report cited the government as being desperate and found that the loosened planning controls may have helped the government to fuel economic growth but it has been done at the expense of the countryside. One of the report’s main target arguments showed that the reforms the government has made to planning permissions are currently posing a threat to national parks and other landscapes throughout the countryside in England. The ministers were accused of making repeated promises to continue protection for these landscapes and parks but the desecration of these lands has continued. Sir Andrew indicated that English countryside is of invaluable importance to the history and future of England and that development in these areas is unacceptable and unnecessary. Sir Andrew did indicate that he does not believe that the government is purposely attempting to ruin the landscapes of the countryside. However, he indicated in the same comments that inadequate protections from development in these areas means that someday there may not be any countryside left to enjoy, and all the history and culture will be lost with them. The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Sir Andrew are calling on politicians to change the reforms once again and give added protection to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), National Parks, and other landscapes that are valued locally by the communities in which they are located. The push comes just after many ministers have indicated the necessity to build on these lands and to continue development as much as possible. One of the current projects highlighted by the report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) shows a plan by the government to put a new major road through the Peak District. Another plan highlighted in the report shows the plan to build multiple mobile homes in the Yorkshire Dales.

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“Use it or Lose it!” Style of Planning Permissions on the Way, 2013-11-07

Arguments are currently surfacing in the government about whether or not developers should have the right to engage in land banking, or if planning councils should have the right to take away land that is purchased but not developed in a timely fashion. The most prominent proposal being considered at this time is one that would give planning councils the right to revoke planning permissions previously granted where developers have sought permission to work on specific plats of land but have not started development within a specific time frame. The same proposal includes provisions giving planning councils the right to levy to levy heavy charges against developers for delayed development. These types of restrictions and rights could streamline the process of purchase orders in England that are considered compulsory and give councils the right to threaten developers into compliance with the law. Effectively, councils would have the right to tell developers who seek planning permission that they must use their planning permissions within the time allotted during the application and approval process or they will lose their planning permissions. According to a recent report published in August 2013 by the Local Government Association there are currently more than 380,000 in the United Kingdom with planning permissions that have not yet been built and the developers have not yet begun work on these homes. Opponents of the new proposal suggest that many of these homes are not yet in development because planning councils have a habit of making it difficult for developers to make it all the way through the approval process. For many developers approval may come with contingencies that must be met before development can be started and those contingencies may take years to fulfil. Think tank, Localis, has suggested that the rights be made available to planning councils because it is one way that the government can be more supportive of the local authorities and help them to boost economic growth by pushing projects, not only through the approval process, but also through to completion. The report from Localis was commissioned by the South East England Councils, a local authority group, seeking ways to speed up the process of development in South East England. The current housing situation in South East England, as throughout the rest of the country, is dire. There is a significant need for effective planning in all areas of the country in addition to adequate housing supply and even the 380,000 homes approved for building will not meet the current demand in the country. These two factors are also determinants in whether or not economic growth is a possibility for areas like South East England, though it largely can have a serious impact on all areas, including large cities, like London. In the same report, Localis highlighted complaints against organisations like Natural England, the Environment Agency, and English Heritage, all of whom are said to be unreasonably slow in responding to planning applications.

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Dover District Council Gives Planning Permission for new Energy Plant, 2013-10-31

The Dover District Council has granted Estover Energy planning consent to build a £65 million green energy plant at Discovery Park in Sandwich at the former site of the Pfizer plant. Financial incentives are offered in the area by mean of its Enterprise Zone Status. The plant will be a biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant that will be powered by wood fuel.It is expected that around 140 jobs will be created as a result of the construction of the new plant, with around 100 of them to be the result of the building process. Estover Energy currently employees 14 people and an additional 20 jobs will be made available at the plant once it has opened with 20 more jobs will be created in transport and forestry.The 220-acre site on which the plant is to be built will receive renewable heat and electricity from the plant. The plat will also supply low carbon electricity to the nation as a whole and support the goal of the United Kingdom that 15 per cent of the nation’s demand for energy will come from renewable resources by the year 2020.Low grade wood that comes from the local area will be used by the plant to generate renewable power and heat to the park and thereby reduce its carbon footprint, its energy costs and its reliance on fossil fuels imported from other nations. A conventional turbine using CHP steam technology will generate 8 to 12 Megawatts of heat and 11 to 15 Megawatts of power which is enough to supply the requisite energy needs of 21,000 homes.The wood used in the plant comes from parts of the tree that have few other uses so that owners of the woodlands in the area will be able to manage these woods more efficiently and achieve greater economic potential. There are 790,000 acres of woodlands in the south east and London and only 46 per cent of it is managed so there are 430,000 acres for which there is no economic use for the trees and no management of a long-term nature.According to Andrew Troup, development director for Estover Energy, there will be many benefits from the new biomass plant that is to be built. There are many energy challenges in the next 20 years that need to be met and the plant will help to meet them by serving to boost the local economy and stimulate investment in the woodlands of the southeast that is long overdue.Laura Sandys, South Thanet MP, said that Estover’s CHP plant will not only provide value for Discovery Park in terms of opportunities for business growth and new employment but for reducing energy costs and carbon emissions from heat and electricity at the park.Greg Barker, energy minister, commented that the biomass CHP plant which Estover is building can be of value to both the local area and to the overall mix of renewable energy. By using the local woods to source the fuel, a new local supply chain is developed that has wider benefits that will help to stimulate the rural economy and provide a market for the woodlands in southeast England for the trees.

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Durkan Withdraws Planning Bill Due to Legal Concerns, 2013-10-28

Mark H Durkan, environment minister, has withdrawn a planning bill due to major legal concerns involving a major convention. The European Convention on Human Rights has many sections that could be considered to run counter to the measures and amendments that Durkan originally proposed to the environment planning bill. These amendments were backed by the DUP and Sinn Fein. At the time of withdrawal, Durkan announced that he had more than just legal concerns, but that he also had concerns about how the planning bill would impact planning and the economy. The planning bill amendments were first begun in June. The assembly, at that time, passed amendments to the planning bill allowing certain individuals in the ministry to propose and set up special planning zones based on the economic needs of shires and councils. Those with powers under the new amendments are the first and deputy ministers. Other amendments made at that time limited the rights of those objecting to planning application decisions to get a judicial review for their application and challenge the decisions that were made on their applications in court. Those amendments were opposed by Alex Atwood, who previously served as the environment minister prior to Durkan’s term. Atwood called the proposed amendments a power grab. Durkan, on the other hand, felt that at least the latter was a necessary move for the government to take and that citizens should be allowed to challenge decisions impacting them and their lives in court. He called this right a fundamental one that all citizens should have in order to protect themselves from too much government power.  Legal advice provided to Durkan concerning the bill proved to him that it was unlawful and that it could cause the government and the bill in its entirety to become a breach of human rights, which Durkan, and most other ministers and government officials are not willing to risk.Durkan was accused of breaching the ministerial code by not consulting the executive on the matter before he mad his announcement. The accusation came directly from the DUP. The government is required in all circumstances to ensure that laws passed for planning and environment do not infringe on the basic rights of citizens and that they do not run contrary to conventions and laws and treaties passed before them. The new environment planning bill would have appeared to only regulate the means by which planning permissions and the environment were dealt with, but according to reports about Durkan’s decision, Durkan realized that the bill would have taken away too much power from those who were seeking planning permissions. Restricting planning permissions, even for environmental purposes, even further in a troubled economic time when housing is hard to come by could severely impact the ability of the government to stimulate the economy, allow construction projects to move forward, and to provide more affordable housing options to the citizens of the United Kingdom and its many local planning councils.

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Planning Minister Encourages Farmers to Go Head to Head With Planning Councils, 2013-10-25

Recent reports out of the government indicate that the planning minister is actively encouraging farmers to battle for their rights against planning councils that restrict their abilities to build on their own farming land. Complaints across the country have recently arisen indicating that local planning councils often make it difficult, or even impossible, for farmers to erect new buildings on their farmland. These buildings may include farm houses, barns, granaries and other outbuildings, among others. Minister Nick Boles told the National Farmers’ Union that they should start fighting for their rights now in order to set the precedent and show the planning councils that farmers will not be restricted from developing and growing their enterprises. Boles believes that if multiple groups are willing to stand up to local planning councils then they will be able change the behaviour of councils towards farmers who initiate the planning process and file planning applications. Recent complaints from the National Farmers’ Union about unnecessary paperwork that skyrockets the cost of development and makes the process much slower caused the planning minister to make the suggestion.Mr Boles and his department in the ministry is unable to intervene in situations where local planning councils cause problems for farmers who are attempting to develop on their land. Mr Boles department is unable to intervene in any matters that arise with those councils that are elected locally. However, Mr Boles and his department are in favour of farmers and of the National Farmers’ Union challenging the local planning councils and their decisions that impact farmers. Mr Boles suggests challenging local planning councils because most are unable or unwilling to take on the expense of defending a planning decision. The process of battling an appeal, especially if the council loses, can be extremely expensive for local planning councils. Mr Boles encourages the farming organisation to take on cases where the unreasonable behaviours towards farmers has been especially egregious and to run these types of test cases could be very helpful in changing the behaviours exhibited by the councils. The rural affairs advisor of the National Farmers’ Union, David Collier, indicated that the unreasonable requests made to farmers over the past year and beyond have included requests for paperwork such as business plans, archaeological surveys, and even flood assessments. Typically, archaeological surveys are only required and requested in situations where there is evidence that the area of farmland has human remains buried on it. The suggestion for this type of extreme reactionary behaviour on the part of farmers is aligned with the new regulation relaxation proposed by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The department recently proposed to allow farmers to turn buildings on their farmland which are currently in existence but unused into other types of buildings, like homes without having to file an application for planning permission. The farmers would also have the right to build up to three new homes and demolish buildings without seeking additional approvals.

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Wind Farms on the Rise in UK Thanks to Approved Planning Applications, 2013-10-18

According to recent reports, the number of onshore wind farms in the United Kingdom is on the rise as planning permissions approval for the construction of wind turbines has increased in droves over the past year. Figures out of the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) indicate that the increase is steady and shows a commitment to change in the United Kingdom.Reports generate between January and August 2013 by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) indicate that there has been a significant increase in the approval of planning applications for wind turbine groupings, also called wind farms. During the eight-month period between January and August, planning permission approval to begin construction was given to 188 onshore wind farms. This is a 49 per cent increase on the year-over-year numbers from the same period in 2012. In 2011, only 83 wind turbine projects were approved during the same eight-month reporting period. However, despite the increase and the positive light this sheds on the United Kingdom as a whole as there are more moves and cries for global change in the production of energy, there is a long and arduous road ahead. Communities secretary Eric Pickles has voice concern over landscape protection rules not being followed by those constructing the wind turbine farms. Greg Baker, energy minister, is currently working to alert area councils that neither wind farms nor solar farms will be allowed in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).  This could mean the end of many wind farm projects in the works throughout the United Kingdom. The Department of Communities and Local Government has indicated that planning councils should bear in mind the potential impact on Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty when approving applications for planning permissions that deal with wind farms and solar farms.Scottish Conservatives recently reported that at least seven applications a day on average are sent to Scottish councils for review and approval for wind farm projects. According to reports from the group, over the past 18 months, 2,508 planning applications were sent to Scottish councils for approval of wind farm projects. The councils receiving the highest number of requests fro planning permissions for wind farms were Aberdeenshire with 428 requests over the past 18 months, followed by the Highland Council with 376 requests for planning permissions for wind farms in the same reporting period. Wind farms are made up of multiple wind turbines, large windmill-like objects that stand on the countryside and turn wind into electricity that is used for powering towns, power plants, and other production facilities. A single one-megawatt wind turbine can produce enough energy to power the average annual needs of more than 350 households. Depending on the planning application and the location of the wind farm, the wind turbines erected may be anywhere from 600 kilowatts to three megawatts of capacity, meaning that they have the potential to power an entire shire or council area for years.

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Rules that govern outbuildings relate to garages, sheds, greenhouses, pools, kennels, and other types of enclosures that are going to be used for enjoyment or as a dwelling quarter. Do I need planning permission for outbuildings, is an intelligent question to ask before setting up one of these outdoor areas.


Outbuildings are permitted developments that will not require planning permission. Planning permission for garden office areas is not required, as long as you are able to stick to the limitations of setting up one of these outbuildings. Building regulations for the outbuilding do not apply as long as the flooring area for the building does not exceed 15 sq. metres, and there are no sleeping accommodations added to it.


Even though you will not need to obtain planning permission for garden office areas, building regulations will apply if the building exceeds 15 sq. metres. Keep this in mind when setting up the office area on your residence. Also, if the office area is being set up on a listed piece of property, you may need to obtain planning permissions for the alteration.


Do I need planning permission for outbuildings can be answered in two ways. As long as you stick to the building requirements you will not need to obtain permission. However, if you do not stick to the building requirements you may need to get in contact with the planning authority to ensure that the alterations you wish to make can be approved.