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Do You Need Planning Permission for a Car Port?

Do You Need Planning Permission for a Car Port?


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Car ports are a popular choice for homeowners looking to protect their vehicles from the elements while keeping costs down. However, before embarking on a car port project, it’s important to understand whether you need planning permission for the construction. Planning permission can be a time-consuming and costly process, so it’s crucial to know the rules and regulations surrounding car port development. In this blog, we will guide you through the process of determining whether you need planning permission for a car port, the scope of permitted development, the limitations and constraints, the importance of a lawful development certificate, instances where planning permission may be required, and the risks of building without planning permission.

Understanding the Basics of Permitted Development

Permitted development refers to the rights that allow for certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without the need to make a planning application. These rights are subject to certain conditions and limitations to control impacts on neighbours and the wider environment. Understanding the basics of permitted development is crucial for anyone considering home improvements or building projects. It’s good news that many garden buildings, including car ports, can be erected without the need for planning permission, provided they meet specific criteria regarding height, size, and location relative to the original house.

What is Permitted Development?

Permitted development allows for small-scale householder developments and changes of use. It covers the installation, alteration, or replacement of a carport within a dwelling house’s curtilage. It also includes creating a hard surface for access to a highway. Meeting certain limitations and conditions ensures it qualifies as permitted development, simplifying the carport building process.

The Scope of Permitted Development for Car Ports

When considering the scope of permitted development for car ports, it’s important to note that this includes the construction, improvement, or alteration of a carport, subject to specific constraints and limitations. Adherence to the maximum area, eaves height, and overall height regulations designated for permitted development rights is essential. Ensuring compliance with the regulations for a lawful development certificate provides confirmation of the legitimacy of the carport construction. Familiarizing yourself with these regulations helps in planning and executing the project efficiently, easing the process for homeowners.

Permitted Development Car Port

Constraints and Limitations of Permitted Development

When considering the constraints and limitations of permitted development, it’s important to note that areas of outstanding natural beauty, local authority guidelines, and maximum eaves height can significantly impact your plans. Additionally, the maximum height and square meters of the boundary of your property are crucial factors to consider. Good news is that for home improvements like garden buildings or a car port, building regulations may not always be necessary, especially if it’s for the first time and within the rules.

Specific Limitations for Car Port Construction

When constructing a carport under permitted development rights, it’s crucial to strictly adhere to the maximum area, eaves height, and overall height regulations. These limitations are designed to prevent overdevelopment and maintain harmony with the surrounding area. By following these regulations, the visual integrity of the property and the local environment is preserved. Ensuring compliance with the specific limitations for carport construction is essential for a successful and compliant project. Familiarizing yourself with these restrictions will help in effective project planning and execution.

Situations where Permitted Development may not Apply

In certain scenarios, such as constructing a carport in a conservation area, permitted development rights might not cover the project. For listed buildings, carport construction may not fall under permitted development rights. The property’s location and specific circumstances can also impact the application of these rights for carport projects. It’s crucial to consider the property’s unique characteristics and surroundings when determining the applicability of permitted development rights. Understanding these situations is vital for homeowners planning a carport project.

Modern Car Port

The Importance of a Lawful Development Certificate

When making alterations or additions to your property, obtaining a lawful development certificate from the local authority is crucial, especially in areas of outstanding natural beauty. A lawful development certificate is the only way to get a legal determination that a development is lawful and does not require planning permission. This certificate ensures that your project complies with the relevant building regulations and permission rules. It also provides peace of mind by confirming that your home improvements are within the maximum eaves height and square metres allowed. Understanding the importance of this certification can be good news, especially if it’s your first time navigating the boundary of your property.

Why Seek a Lawful Development Certificate?

Seeking a lawful development certificate for your carport project ensures compliance with planning regulations and protects against enforcement actions. It provides legitimacy, instilling confidence in homeowners and potential buyers. Understanding the importance of this certificate safeguards your investment and guarantees a transparent and compliant development process. A Lawful development certificate is also often required to sell or remortgage a property.

How to Obtain a Lawful Development Certificate?

To obtain a lawful development certificate for a carport project, you need to submit detailed plans and information to the local planning authority. Engaging professionals can streamline the application process and increase the chances of success. Accuracy and completeness are crucial for a positive outcome. Understanding this process is essential for homeowners seeking legality validation.

3 Bay Wooden Car Port

Instances where Planning Permission May be Required For a Car Port

Building a car port in an area of outstanding natural beauty may require planning permission from the local authority. If the car port exceeds 2.5 metres in height or covers more than half the area of the original house, permission rules apply. Additionally, building close to the boundaries of your property, within 2 metres, may also necessitate planning permission. However, the good news is that some home improvements, like garden buildings or car ports, may fall under permitted development, subject to certain limitations and building regulations.

Different Scenarios that Require Planning Permission

In certain situations, such as constructing in a conservation area, planning permission is necessary. Additionally, if the size and height of your car port exceed specific restrictions, you will need planning permission. If your property is listed, the likelihood of requiring planning permission for a car port is high. Furthermore, if you have exhausted your permitted development allowance for other projects, planning permission may be necessary. Imposition of planning constraints by the local authority, like an Article 4 Direction, can also trigger the requirement for planning permission.

Understanding Exceptions to Car Port Planning Permission

In certain instances, car ports are classified under permitted development rights, alleviating the need for planning permission. If your car port adheres to particular height and area prerequisites, planning permission might not be necessary.

Planning Permission for a Pitched Roof Car Port

Applying for Planning Permission: The Process

Seeking planning permission for a carport involves a systematic process. Initially, you need to submit a detailed application to your local authority, including plans and other essential documents. The application will be reviewed to ensure compliance with building regulations and other permission rules. Upon approval, you will receive a formal notice outlining any specific conditions that must be adhered to during construction. If necessary, amendments can be made to the original house plans to meet the required standards.

Steps to Apply for Planning Permission

When applying for planning permission for your car port, start by consulting your local planning authority or a qualified town planner to understand the necessary permissions. Gather all required documents, including architect drawings, and planning statements with all the details of your proposed car port. Be prepared to provide details about the maximum area of land the car port will cover. This process ensures compliance with local authority regulations and helps you move forward with your project smoothly.

Key Considerations while Applying for Planning Permission

When applying for planning permission, it’s crucial to consider the total area of your property and how the car port will fit into it. Additionally, keep in mind the maximum overall height allowed for the car port structure. Also, take into account the total height of the car port, including any raised platforms or pitched roof additions. By keeping these key considerations in mind, you can navigate the process of applying for planning permission more smoothly and ensure compliance with local authority regulations.

2 Bay Car Port

The Risks of Building without Planning Permission

Building without obtaining the necessary planning permission can lead to serious consequences. Not only does it violate the law, but it can also result in enforcement action by the local authority. Non-compliance with planning permission rules may lead to expensive alterations or even demolition of the structure. This is why it’s crucial to adhere to building regulations and seek permission for home improvements, especially when constructing garden buildings or extending the original house. Understanding the risks and taking necessary precautions can save you from legal disputes and ensure a smooth building process.

Possible Consequences of Non-compliance

Potential consequences of not adhering to car port planning permission include the likelihood of facing enforcement action from the local planning authority. If planning permission for a car port is not obtained, there may be a requirement for retrospective planning consent. Additionally, the construction of a car port without the necessary permission could lead to legal disputes and fines. In situations where retrospective planning permission cannot be secured, the car port may need to be demolished.

Real-life Examples of Legal Disputes due to Non-compliance

Instances exist of property owners entering legal battles due to constructing a carport without obtaining planning permission. Failure to comply with the regulations for a carport can result in expensive legal proceedings. Real-life cases highlight the significance of following the required permissions for carport construction. These examples underscore the potential risks and consequences that arise from non-compliance with planning regulations, emphasising the importance of adhering to building requirements.

How to Find Out If I Need Planning Permission for My Car Port?

To determine if you need planning permission for your car port, assess the eaves height and maximum area of the structure. Understand your property boundary and the total area of your property. First-time builders should familiarise themselves with the necessary permissions for building a car port. You have the option to obtain professional guidance from your local planning authority through a pre-application process or from an experienced town planner.

Option 1 – Pre-Application

Participating in pre-application can be advantageous for individuals interested in building a car port. If your local authority provides a pre-application service, this may be a viable choice. Architectural drawings and a comprehensive written proposal will be necessary. A pre-application can cost up to £600, and the wait time for a response can be up to 8 weeks. It’s important to note that this response is not legally binding and does not ensure the success of any future application.

Option 2 – Planning Appraisal

Alternatively, we can conduct a planning appraisal. One of our expert town planners can conduct the same checks as the council, which include reviewing relevant planning policies, examining the planning history, and identifying any planning limitations at the location. The main difference is that architectural drawings or a comprehensive written proposal are not needed, and we can provide the answers within a day rather than the potential 8-week wait.


In conclusion, it is important to understand the regulations and requirements surrounding car port construction and planning permission. While permitted development rights may allow for certain exemptions, it is crucial to thoroughly research and assess your specific situation to determine if planning permission is necessary. Applying for a lawful development certificate can provide peace of mind and legal protection. Remember, building without the proper permissions can have serious consequences. If you are unsure about whether you need planning permission for your car port or need guidance through the process, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our experts. We are here to help and ensure your project is compliant with all regulations.

Grant Singlehurst-Ward

AuthorGrant Singlehurst-WardFOUNDER & MANAGING DIRECTOR

A serial entrepreneur with background in sales and marketing, Grant is the founder and managing director. He founded Planning By Design to provide clients with the highest possible level of service at unbeatable prices.

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