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Do You Need Planning Permission for a Fence?

Planning Permission for fence

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Key Highlights

  1. Permitted development rights may allow for certain fence projects without the need for planning permission.
  2. Houses can have permitted development rights but not all houses have permitted development rights
  3. Flats, maisonettes, and commercial properties always need planning permission.
  4. Planning constraints such as conservation areas, listed buildings, and Article 4 Directions may limit or remove permitted development rights.
  5. Regulations typically restrict fence height to 2 meters in most cases, with stricter guidelines near footpaths and highways for visibility reasons.
  6. It is important to consult with your local planning authority or a qualified town planner before proceeding with a fence project.


Planning permission for fences can be a crucial aspect of property development. Understanding the regulations can save time and resources. Factors like the height, location, and materials used for the fence matter for compliance. Permitted development rights may apply in certain cases, but limitations exist. When in doubt, consulting the local planning authority can provide clarity on the rules. By navigating these guidelines effectively, homeowners can ensure their fence projects proceed smoothly and legally within the framework of the law.

Permitted Development Rights for Fences

Understanding Planning Permission for Fences

Planning permission for fences is a crucial aspect of property development. Understanding the regulations surrounding fencing within your curtilage or local area is essential. Permitted development rules dictate the height and materials allowed for a fence to be exempt from planning permission. However, specific limitations exist, especially when dealing with listed buildings or conservation areas. Being aware of these rules and consulting with the local planning authority or a planning consultant can streamline the process of installing or modifying fences on your property.

Overview of Permitted Development Rights for Fences

Permitted development allows certain fence installations without planning permission, subject to limitations. This regulation aims to streamline minor works, such as fence constructions, within specific guidelines. Generally, such developments involve erecting fences at a specific height, typically up to two meters, in residential properties. Permitted development criteria vary based on factors like property type, location, and any additional designations like conservation areas. Familiarizing oneself with these basic rules can help homeowners navigate fence installations smoothly and lawfully.

Permitted Development Rights for Fences

Limitations and Constraints on Permitted Development

Under permitted development, there are essential limitations and constraints to consider for fence installation. Regulations typically restrict fence height to 2 meters in most cases, with stricter guidelines near footpaths and highways for visibility reasons. The location of fencing within the curtilage of listed buildings or within designated conservation areas may impose additional limitations. Understanding these constraints is crucial before proceeding with any fencing project to ensure compliance with planning regulations.

When is fence permitted development

When is a Fence Permitted Development?

Fences are classified as permitted development if they meet specific criteria. Understanding these criteria is crucial to determine if planning permission is required. Factors such as height and location in relation to the property boundary play a significant role. Additionally, the fence should not be located within a conservation area or the curtilage of a listed building. By considering these aspects, homeowners can assess whether their fence falls within permitted development guidelines.

Common Scenarios Where Fences Fall Under Permitted Development

Fences often fall under permitted development when they meet specific criteria. Common scenarios include installing a fence within the curtilage of a residential property, keeping the height within defined limits, and not erecting it forward of the principal elevation. Additionally, if the fence does not exceed certain heights, such as one or two meters depending on the location, it may qualify under permitted development. Understanding these scenarios can help homeowners proceed with fence installations without the need for planning permission.

Height Restrictions for Fences Without Needing Planning Permission

Fences without needing planning permission typically have height restrictions. In the UK, fences at the front can be up to 1 meter, while those at the back can reach 2 meters. If atop a mound, the max height drops to 1 meter. Note that these rules apply specifically to solid fences; trellis structures must not surpass 2 meters. Understanding these limits ensures compliance and hassle-free fence installations within permitted development regulations.

Proximity to Highways and Public Footpaths

In addition to fence height, the proximity of a fence to highways and public footpaths is an important consideration when it comes to permitted development. If your fence abuts a highway used by vehicles or the footpath of such a highway, specific rules and restrictions apply.

For fences that are adjacent to a highway, the maximum height allowed under permitted development is one meter from ground level. This restriction is in place to maintain visibility for motorists and pedestrians and to ensure safety on the roads.

It is important to note that these restrictions apply specifically to highways used by vehicles or the footpath of such highways. If your fence is adjacent to a public footpath or other public rights of way, similar restrictions may apply. It is recommended to consult your local planning authority or seek expert advice to determine the specific requirements for fences in proximity to highways and public footpaths in your area.

Situations Requiring Planning Permission for a Fence

In specific situations, you may need planning permission for a fence. These include cases where the fence is located within the curtilage of a listed building or in a conservation area. If your fence exceeds the maximum height allowed under permitted development rights, planning permission may be necessary. Understanding these scenarios is crucial to ensure compliance with local planning regulations and avoid potential issues with the authorities.

Impact of Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

It is crucial to note that if your property is within the curtilage of a listed building or in a conservation area, restrictions on fence construction may apply. In such cases, local planning authorities tend to preserve the character of these areas, which could affect your plans for a new fence. Ensure you consult with the planning authority to understand any specific regulations or permissions needed before proceeding with your fence project in these designated areas.

Situations Requiring Planning Permission for a Fence

Navigating the Process of Obtaining Planning Permission

Navigating the process of getting planning permission can be intricate. Determining if your fence needs approval involves careful consideration of local guidelines. Start by assessing your fence’s height and location, ensuring it complies with restrictions. Research your local planning portal for specific requirements. Seeking pre-application advice from the planning authority can clarify any uncertainties. Taking these initial steps will help streamline your planning application process efficiently. Remember to engage with your local council for expert guidance throughout the planning permission journey.

Understanding Planning Permission for Fences

Steps to Determine If Your Fence Requires Planning Permission

Reviewing the guidelines for determining if planning permission is necessary for your fence is crucial. Firstly, assess the proposed height of the fence. Laying out the exact location of the fence within your property boundaries is also vital. Additionally, consider any specific rules in designated areas like conservation areas or near listed buildings. Engaging with the local planning authority or a town planner early on can provide clarity. Understanding these factors will help you ascertain whether your fence falls under permitted development or requires formal planning permission.

Pre-Application Advice: Consulting with Your Local Council

Before applying for planning permission for a fence, it may be beneficial to engage in a pre-application process with your local council or planning authority. This step entails submitting architectural drawings and a written proposal to obtain feedback on your proposed log cabin. Pre-applications typically incur a fee of up to £600, have a response time of 4-8 weeks, and provide an official assessment on the project’s requirements, feasibility, and likelihood of approval. While not an approval in advance or a guarantee of success, this process can help in addressing potential issues early, ensuring adherence to regulations, and enhancing the project’s chances of approval.

A Planning Appraisal: Expert Advice From an RTPI Town Planner

If you need quick responses, opting for a planning appraisal could be more suitable. A town planner accredited by the RTPI can conduct the same essential assessments, such as examining planning regulations, background, and limitations, even without intricate drawings or a formal proposal. Instead of a potential 8-week wait, you can obtain responses within a day. Following the investigation, your town planner will offer a telephone consultation to go over the results and answer any questions. By the conclusion of the consultation, you will have a clear understanding of whether you need planning permission, the requirements for the recommended application, and the likelihood of approval.

How a Town Planner Can Facilitate Your Application Process

Hiring a town planner can simplify the complex task of obtaining planning permission for your fence. They possess in-depth knowledge of local planning regulations and can offer valuable insights into navigating the complexities of the application procedure. A town planner can assist in preparing the necessary documentation, ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and represent you in communications with the local planning authority. Their expertise can significantly expedite the approval process and enhance the chances of a successful outcome.


In conclusion, understanding the nuances of planning permission for fences is crucial to ensure compliance with regulations. Whether your fence falls under permitted development or requires formal approval, considering factors like height restrictions and the impact on listed buildings is essential. Navigating this process may involve consulting with your local planning authority or seeking expert advice to streamline the application process. By following the guidelines set by the planning portal and relevant authorities, homeowners can erect fences that enhance their properties while respecting the character of the surrounding area.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Maximum Height for a Fence Before Needing Planning Permission?

The maximum height for a fence before needing planning permission varies, but typically it’s around 2 meters. However, in conservation areas or near highways, restrictions may apply. Understanding these limitations is crucial for compliance.

Can I Erect a Fence in a Conservation Area Without Planning Permission?

In a conservation area, erecting a fence usually requires planning permission due to stricter regulations aimed at preserving the historical or architectural significance. Check with your local council for specific guidelines.

How Close Can a Fence be to the Road Without Requiring Planning Permission?

In most cases, a fence can be up to 2 meters high without needing planning permission if it’s not next to a highway. If the fence is within 1 meter of a highway used by vehicles, it may require permission.

Do I Need My Neighbour’s Consent to Erect a Fence?

To erect a fence, you typically don’t need your neighbor’s consent unless it affects their property. However, it’s good practice to discuss your plans with them to avoid any disputes.

What Should I Do if I’m Unsure About Fence Regulations?

Seek guidance from your local planning authority if uncertain about fence regulations. They can provide clarity on whether your project requires planning permission or falls under permitted development. Following their advice ensures compliance with regulations.

How Long Does It Take to Obtain Planning Permission for a Fence?

Navigating the process to obtain planning permission for a fence can vary. Factors like local regulations, application processing times, and any required consultations can influence the timeline. Typically, it may take several weeks to months for approval.

How Does a Fence Affect My Property’s Boundary Lines?

A fence can define and mark the boundary lines of your property. It provides a clear visual indication of the property’s limits and helps prevent encroachments. When installing a new fence, it’s important to ensure that it is aligned with the property boundary. It’s also worth considering any existing fences that may be in place, as they can help determine the correct boundary lines.

Are There Exceptions to the Height Restrictions for Fences?

While there are general height restrictions for fences, there may be exceptions that allow for taller fences under permitted development rights. These exceptions can vary depending on factors such as the location of the property and the specific planning regulations in place. Consulting with a town planner can help determine if any exceptions apply to your fencing project.

What Are the Consequences of Erecting a Fence Without Planning Permission?

Erecting a fence without obtaining the required planning permission can have serious consequences. The local planning authority has the power to take enforcement action, which may involve ordering the removal or alteration of the fence. It’s important to follow the proper procedures and obtain planning permission to avoid such consequences.

Can Existing Fences Be Replaced Without Additional Permissions?

In some cases, existing fences can be replaced without the need for additional planning permissions. This falls under the concept of permitted development, which allows for certain changes or alterations to be made without formal planning permission. However, it’s important to ensure that the replacement fence meets the permitted development criteria to avoid any potential issues.

Can I Erect a Fence Without Informing My Neighbors?

In most cases, you can erect a fence without informing your neighbors. However, it’s always a good idea to keep your neighbors informed about any major changes to the property boundary, especially if the new fence will replace an existing one. Open communication can help prevent disputes and maintain good neighborly relations.

How Long Does the Planning Permission Process Take for Fences?

The length of the planning permission process for fences can vary depending on the local planning department and the complexity of the project. In general, it can take several weeks to several months to obtain planning permission. It’s advisable to consult with the local planning department or a town planner to get a more accurate estimate for your specific project.

Milana Semco


With over 15 years marketing experience Milana brings a huge amount of experience to the team. With heavy focus on our customers needs and interests, she helps Planning By Design to reach, engage and educate clients on all things planning and design in new and innovative ways.

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