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Do You Need Planning Permission For a Garden Room?

Do you need planning permission for a garden room

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Key Highlights

  • Permitted development rights may allow for certain Garden rooms projects without the need for planning permission.
  • Houses can have permitted development rights but not all houses have permitted development rights
  • Flats, maisonettes, and commercial properties always need planning permission.
  • Planning constraints such as conservation areas, listed buildings, and Article 4 Directions may limit or remove permitted development rights.
  • Building regulations may still apply for garden rooms, especially if you plan to use them for sleeping accommodation.
  • It is important to consult with your local planning authority or a qualified town planner before proceeding with a garden room project to limit the risk of making any of the common permitted development mistakes.

Introduction

Garden rooms have become increasingly popular in recent years, providing homeowners with versatile and stylish spaces that can be used for a variety of purposes. Whether you want a home office, a gym, a playroom, or a relaxation space, a garden room can be the perfect solution. However, before you start planning your dream garden room, it’s important to understand whether you need planning permission for it. In this blog, we will explore the key considerations and regulations surrounding planning permission for garden rooms, helping you make an informed decision about your project.

Understanding Planning Permission for Garden Rooms

When it comes to building a garden room, understanding planning permission is crucial. Planning permission is the approval granted by the local planning authority for any development or change to a property. A garden room refers to a standalone structure that is built in the garden, separate from the main house. The local planning authority is responsible for determining whether planning permission is required for garden rooms based on specific regulations and guidelines.

The Basics of Planning Permission

Planning permission is a legal requirement for certain types of development, including building new structures or making significant changes to existing ones. However, not all projects require planning permission, thanks to permitted development rights. Permitted development rights grant homeowners the freedom to make certain improvements or changes to their properties without seeking planning permission. These rights are granted by the government and allow for small-scale projects that are unlikely to have a significant impact on the surrounding area. While garden rooms typically fall within permitted development rules for householders, it is important to understand the specific regulations, including any potential planning conditions, to determine whether planning permission is necessary.

When is Planning Permission Necessary?

While garden rooms generally do not require planning permission, there are certain circumstances where it may be necessary. Permitted development rights for garden rooms are subject to limitations and conditions that must be adhered to. If these limitations are exceeded or if the property is located in a conservation area, a listed building, or designated land such as a national park or area of outstanding natural beauty, planning permission may be required. It is important to consult with the local planning authority, also known as the local planning office, to determine whether your garden room project falls within the permitted development rules or if planning permission is necessary to limit the risk of making any of the common permitted development mistakes.

Permitted Development Rights for Garden Rooms

Permitted development rights play a significant role in determining whether planning permission is necessary for garden rooms. These rights allow homeowners to undertake certain types of development without the need for formal planning permission. For garden rooms, permitted development rights provide pre-approved planning permission as long as the project adheres to specific limits and conditions. These limits and conditions include factors such as the height of the garden room, the area it occupies in the garden, and its use. By meeting these requirements, homeowners may be able to proceed with their garden room project without the need for planning permission.

Overview of Permitted Development for Garden Rooms

Permitted development for garden rooms provides homeowners with the flexibility to create additional living or working spaces without the need for planning permission. Under permitted development rules, garden rooms are considered to be outbuildings that do not require planning permission, subject to certain conditions. These conditions include restrictions on the height and size of the garden room, as well as its location within the property. For example, the garden room must not exceed a certain height from the ground level and should not occupy more than a specified percentage of the total garden area. Additionally, verandas and balconies are not permitted as part of a garden room under permitted development rights. By adhering to these conditions, homeowners can proceed with their garden room project under permitted development rights.

Limitations and Constraints under Permitted Development

While garden rooms may be eligible for permitted development rights, there are still limitations and constraints that must be considered. These limitations are in place to ensure that the development does not have a negative impact on the surrounding environment or neighbouring properties. Some of the key limitations and constraints under permitted development for garden rooms include:

  1. Maximum height: According to the UK government’s planning portal, the garden room must not exceed a certain height from the ground level, typically 2.5 meters if within 2 meters of a boundary.
  2. Total area: The garden room should not occupy more than a specified percentage of the total garden area, typically 50%.
  3. Original house: The area of land around the “original house,” which includes any previous extensions or outbuildings built since 1948, should not be covered by more than half of the total area.
  4. Only houses can have permitted development rights: but not all houses have permitted development rights. Flats, maisonettes, and commercial properties always need planning permission.
  5. Planning constraints: Conservation areas, listed buildings, and Article 4 Directions may limit or remove permitted development rights.

By adhering to these limitations and constraints, homeowners can ensure that their garden room project complies with permitted development rules and avoid making any of the common permitted development mistakes.

 Planning Permission for Garden Rooms

Key Factors Influencing Planning Permission for Garden Rooms

Several key factors can influence whether planning permission is required for garden rooms. These factors include the size and scale of the garden room, its location within the property, and any special designations or restrictions that may apply to the area. Understanding these factors is essential to determine whether planning permission is necessary and to ensure compliance with local planning regulations. By considering these key factors, homeowners can make informed decisions about their garden room projects and ensure a smooth planning process.

Size and Scale Considerations

The size and scale of a garden room can have a significant impact on whether planning permission is required. Permitted development rights for garden rooms set limits on the total area that can be occupied by the room and the maximum height allowed. These size and scale considerations, including the impact on neighbouring properties and the presence of a veranda or balcony, are in place to ensure that the garden room does not dominate the surrounding landscape or violate the privacy of your neighbours. Homeowners should be aware of these limitations and carefully plan the dimensions of their garden room to comply with permitted development rules.

Location and Proximity to Boundaries

The location of a garden room within the property and its proximity to boundaries can also affect whether planning permission is necessary. Permitted development rules typically require that garden rooms are not built forward of the principal elevation of the house or to the side of your house without planning permission. Furthermore, there are specific regulations regarding the distance between the garden room and the boundaries of the property, including footpaths. It is important to consider these location and proximity requirements when planning a garden room project to ensure compliance with permitted development rules.

Special Cases Requiring Attention

While garden rooms can often fall within permitted development rights, there are special cases that require additional attention. These cases involve properties located in conservation areas, world heritage sites, or areas of outstanding natural beauty. In these special cases, the regulations and requirements for planning permission may differ, and homeowners should consult with the local planning authority, also known as the local authority or an RTPI-accredited town planner to determine the specific guidelines that apply. It is important to be aware of any special designations or restrictions that may impact the planning process for garden rooms in these areas, including limitations on the total area to be covered by garden rooms, which may be restricted to 10 square metres in certain designated land locations.

Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

Listed buildings and properties located in conservation areas have additional regulations and requirements for planning permission. Garden rooms within the curtilage of listed buildings will require planning permission, regardless of their size or design. In conservation areas, where the character and appearance of the surroundings are protected, garden rooms may also require planning permission. Homeowners should consult with the local planning authority or a qualified town planner to understand the specific guidelines and restrictions that apply to garden rooms in listed properties and conservation areas, especially if the property was built before July 1948.

Designated Land and Its Implications

Designated land, such as national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and world heritage sites, may have additional implications for planning permission for garden rooms. These areas are protected due to their natural, historic, or cultural significance, and stricter regulations may apply. In designated land, garden rooms located at the side of properties may require planning permission, with the maximum area covered by buildings, enclosures, containers, and pools limited to 10 square metres between the side of the house and the boundary of your property. It is important for homeowners to be aware of any designated land designations in their area and consult with the local planning authority to understand the specific requirements for garden rooms in these locations.

Process of Acquiring Planning Permission for Garden Room

The Process of Acquiring Planning Permission

Obtaining planning permission for a garden room involves a process that varies depending on the local planning authority. The first step is to consult with the authority or a town planner to determine whether planning permission is necessary for the proposed garden room. If planning permission is required, the homeowner will need to submit a planning application, including detailed plans and documents outlining the proposed development. The local planning authority will review the application and make a decision based on local regulations and considerations. It is important to allow sufficient time for the planning process and to follow the guidance provided by the local planning authority.

How To Find Out if You Need Planning Permission?

To ascertain whether planning permission is necessary for a garden room, you have a few choices. You can attempt to figure this out on your own, but it’s essential to note that 20% of our planning applications are retrospective, often triggered by a planning enforcement notice, and 99% of these cases believed their project fell under permitted development when it did not. It is important to assess the dimensions and placement of the garden room to determine if it complies with size restrictions and does not obstruct visibility or access. Additionally, you must investigate whether there are any unique property-specific features or planning restrictions, such as being a listed building or located in a conservation area, or an Article 4 designation that mandates planning permission. Alternatively, you have the option to make a pre-application to your local council or seek advice from a qualified town planner for accurate and dependable pre-planning guidance.

Pre-application Consultation with the Council

Before submitting a formal planning permission application for a garden room project, you could consider engaging in a pre-application consultations your local council or planning authority. This process involves providing architectural drawings and a written proposal to seek guidance on your proposed garden room. Pre-applications cost up to £600, take 4-8 weeks for a response, and offer a formal opinion on the requirements, feasibility, and likelihood of success. While not a pre-approval or any guarantee of approval, it can help address issues early on, ensuring compliance with regulations and increasing the chances of approval for your garden room project.

Planning Appraisal With A Town Planner

If you’re looking for prompt answers, a planning appraisal might be the better choice. An RTPI accredited town planner can carry out the necessary checks, including reviewing planning policies, history, and constraints, without the need for detailed drawings or a written proposal. Instead of waiting up to 8 weeks, you can receive the answers within a day. After conducting research, your town planner will provide you with a telephone consultation to discuss the findings and address any queries. By the end of the consultation, you will have clarity on whether planning permission is needed, along with recommended steps and chances of success.

Building Regulations for Garden Rooms

Building Regulations for Garden Rooms

While planning permission focuses on the external appearance and impact of the garden room, building regulations ensure that the construction meets certain standards for safety, health, and energy efficiency. Some key points to consider regarding building regulations for garden rooms include:

  1. Building regulations typically do not apply unless the garden room will be used for sleeping accommodation.
  2. There are specific guidelines regarding the size and distance from boundaries for garden rooms to be exempt from building regulations.
  3. If the garden room exceeds the size limits or will be used for sleeping accommodation, you will need to comply with building regulations and seek approval.

Understanding Building Regulations

Building regulations set out the minimum standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of occupants. Understanding building regulations is essential when considering a garden room project.

Building regulations cover various aspects, including structural stability, fire safety, insulation, ventilation, and electrical installations. Compliance with these regulations helps ensure that the garden room is safe, energy-efficient, and suitable for its intended use.

It is important to consult the government’s technical guidance documents on building regulations to understand the specific requirements applicable to your garden room project. These documents provide detailed information on different aspects of building regulations and offer guidance for compliance.

Are Building Regulations Required for Your Garden Room?

Whether building regulations are required for your garden room depends on its size and intended use. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. If your garden room has an internal floor area of less than 15 square meters and does not contain any sleeping accommodation, it is usually exempt from building regulations.
  2. If the internal floor area is between 15 and 30 square meters, building regulations may not be required if the garden room is at least one meter away from any boundary or constructed mainly of non-combustible materials.
  3. If the garden room will be used for sleeping accommodation or exceeds the size limits mentioned above, building regulations will likely apply, and you will need to seek approval.

It is essential to consult your local building control authority to determine the specific building regulations requirements for your garden room project.

Permitted development rights for garden room

Conclusion

In summary, understanding the nuances of planning permission for garden rooms is crucial to avoid any legal complications. While permitted development rights offer some flexibility, factors like size, location, and specific cases such as listed buildings require careful attention. By following the steps to determine if you need planning permission and consulting with the council when necessary, you can navigate the process effectively. Additionally, being aware of building regulations ensures compliance with construction standards. Stay informed to make informed decisions about your garden room project and avoid risk of making any of the common permitted development mistakes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the Common Exceptions to Needing Planning Permission?

Common exceptions to needing planning permission for a garden room include permitted development allowances, previous owner extensions, and restrictions on sleeping accommodation or building in certain areas of the property.

How does the 2.5m Rule Affect Garden Room Construction?

The 2.5m rule states that if your garden room is within 2m of a boundary, the height from the bottom of the building to the top of the roof should not exceed 2.5m. This rule helps ensure that the garden room does not obstruct views or encroach on neighboring properties.

Can a Garden Room be Built without Any Permissions?

In some cases, garden rooms can be built without needing planning permission or building regulations approval. This is possible if the garden room falls within permitted development rights and meets the specific criteria regarding size, usage, and location.

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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