Thinking of building an outbuilding to your property?

A nice outbuilding can really improve the way we enjoy our house and back garden. We can call it a shed, barn, greenhouse, garage or garden studio; this additional living space can have as many names as the different uses we want to give it.

Generally we do not need to apply for planning permission to build an outbuilding, except in some circumstances that may change depending on the building within a dwelling house. Thershutterstock_145050067 copye are specific requirements for the height, location and allowed ground coverage to take into account, to be considered permitted development. An outbuilding is permitted providing:


  • Any outbuilding should have a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the house. It cannot cover normal residential uses, such as separate self-contained accommodation nor the use of an outbuilding for primary living accommodation such as a bedroom, bathroom, or kitchen.
  • For the purposes of Class E rules on permitted development, “purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house as such” includes the keeping of poultry, bees, pet animals, birds or other livestock for domestic use.
  • Any new building must not have food heating facilities or an antenna.
  • The outbuilding must be single storey, with a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and over all height of 4 metres with a dual pitched roof. Or 3 metres height in all other cases.
  • No verandas or balconies allowed for the permitted development. Raised platforms or garden decking cannot be higher than 300mm.
  • The total area of ground around the house covered by buildings, enclosures and containers must not exceed 50% of the total area of land around the original house.
  • Development is not permitted if any part of the building, enclosure, pool or container would be situated on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation of the original dwelling house.
  • The outbuilding could be used to keep a container used for domestic heating purposes for the storage of oil or liquid petroleum gas. In this case it must not exceed 3,500 litres capacity to be permitted development.
  • In these cases, outbuildings are not a permitted development without planning permission:
    • Within the grounds of a listed building.
    • To the side of the house on designated land (which includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites). On designated land they should be 20 metres away from any wall of the house and not more than 10 square metres.
    • For a flat.
    • For a maisonette.
    • For any sizes larger than stated above.

A local planning authority may have removed some permitted development rights by issuing what is known as an Article 4 Direction or may have removed those rights on the original, in which case planning permission will be needed. Before undertaking any development, to be certain that a proposed development is lawful and does not require an application for planning permission, it is possible to apply for a “Lawful Development Certificate” from the local authority.

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Detailed Planning

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