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Outbuildings – Planning Permissions and Other Regulations

Outbuildings are considered to be permitted development and they generally do not need planning permission providing that they meet the following restrictions:

Garden sheds, greenhouses and other buildings

Planning permission is not required provided that:

The shed/greenhouse/building is used for domestic purposes only.

The ground area covered by the shed/greenhouse/building and any other buildings within the boundary of the property, excluding the original house, is not more than half the total area of the property.

No part of the shed/greenhouse/building is in front of the principal or side elevation of the original house that faces onto a road.

The maximum height of the shed/greenhouse/building is 4 metres.

The maximum eaves height of the shed/greenhouse/building is 2.5 metres if it is within 2 metres of the property boundary.

No part of the shed/greenhouse/building is within 3.5 metres of the boundary with a road to the rear of the house.

If you live in a house within a World Heritage Site, area of outstanding natural beauty or National Park the maximum total area of ground covered by buildings, enclosures and pools situated more than 20 metres from any wall of the house does not exceed 10 square metres.

If you live in a house within a conservation area, World Heritage Site, area of outstanding natural beauty or National Park the shed/greenhouse/building is not situated between the principal or side elevation of the house and its boundary.

The building is not used for the keeping of pigeons.

You should always check with the Local Planning Authority to ensure that you do not require planning permission, as in some cases Permitted Development rights may have been removed.  For more information visit  

In addition to planning permission, you should also pay attention to building regulations when installing a shed, making sure the structure is secure and that it is not used as sleeping accommodation. 

For more advice contact your Local Building Authority or visit:

Garden office

It is estimated that around two million people work from their homes and it looks like that figure is set to grow. Investing in the garden building and moving your place of work outside not only creates a quiet space to work undisturbed but also helps overcome the issue of the loss of a room in the house and the feeling of “never really leaving work” by creating a physical division between office and home.

In many cases, a garden office can be built under ‘Permitted Development’ rules but this will very much depend on the intended use of the building. Using a building to run a business that was noisy and had lots of visitors will have a completely different impact on the neighbourhood in terms of noise, number of cars etc from using it to work quietly alone on your computer.

If you are unsure if you need to apply for Planning Permission it is worth applying to your local Planning Department for pre-planning advice, this is an informal application which allows you to learn whether planning is needed in your individual circumstances. Local authorities are essentially positive about garden offices and other garden buildings so, if you need planning permission you are highly likely to get it.

Even if you are building under Permitted Development rules and therefore not applying for full Planning Permission it’s still good practice to show your neighbours the proposed plans and explain to them what you intend to do .

The one element of Building Regulations that every garden office needs to comply with is the electrics – these must be installed by a certified electrician.

The information and advice in this article is provided in good faith and is designed to give general information and guidance. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. If in doubt we strongly recommend you seek professional assistance.

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