The Inside Edge
A friend recently asked me for advice about his neighbour’s shed. When I say shed, I mean minature house in the back garden. This building is red-brick, single storey with a pitched and tiled roof and double glazed. You could live in there easily. Well I could.
So I decided to refresh my memory of the Planning Law on this subject. A quick google search led to the excellent national Planning Portal which not only sets out the rules in as clear a manner as possible but also has a 3-D demo! It wasn’t like this when I studied Town and Country Planning I can tell you.
In brief, outbuildings are now (since October 2008) covered by permitted development rights – a type of planning classification which says that you have automatic planning permission without application subject to certain restrictions.
The main general restrictions are that the house is not listed and that you’re outside ‘Designated land’, which includes national parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.
So if you’re not in one of those, you qualify for permitted development rights. The specific restrictions for an outbuilding (such as a shed, dog kennels, garage or study) are:
No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation. (that means not in front of the house).
Outbuildings and garages to be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of four metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof.
Maximum height of 2.5 metres in the case of a building, enclosure or container within two metres of a boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse (that means the boundary of the whole plot).
No verandas, balconies or raised platforms (where are we Australia? It’s too cold for a veranda anyway, surely!).
No more than half the area of land around the “original house” would be covered by additions or other buildings.
You can see the visual demonstration of the rules by clicking here.
Unfortunately for my friend, his neighbour’s ‘outhouse’ was within the height, area and location requirements and so qualified for permitted development and so can be deemed to have planning permission. If you’re planning to build an outhouse an are still unsure of the rules, don’t be afraid to phone up your local council planning department and ask for advice – after all they’re there to help you.