Do I Need Planning Permission for a Garden Room?

As you begin making plans for your new garden room, studio, play room, gym or hobby space, likely one of the first nagging questions that’s going to come to your mind is : ‘Do I need Planning Permission?’

If your building is planned for the garden of your ‘house’ then it will likely be covered by ‘Permitted Development Rights’.

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Permitted Development Rights

These are general planning permission rights granted by Parliament, rather than your Local Authority, which allow you to improve and extend your house without needing to apply for planning permission, as planning permission may be out of proportion with the impact of the works you would like to carry out. If you live in a ‘flat or maisonette’ though these wouldn’t be applicable.

You can find out more about Permitted Development Rights and Planning Permission  on the Planning Portal website see links below:

It’s also well worth downloading ‘‘Permitted development rights for householders: technical guide’ from the Government website, which gives detailed information on what size and shape buildings can be and will help you to understand how to carry out your build.

Are you going to use your building as an Office?

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The Governments above mentioned technical guidance document talks about ‘Class E’ as:
‘a) any building or enclosure, swimming or other pool required for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse’
The term ‘incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse’ may have relevance if you intend to use the building as an office.

Garden offices are really popular these days, read our recent article  to find out about the great advantages they offer. The term ‘garden office’ can refer to a space where you work on your own, but could equally mean that you have people coming and going from your premises. 

A garden office just for your use would likely comply with Class E (a), however, if you’re intending to have cars and visitors to the building, which could affect your neighbours with noise and traffic, then you will need to contact your Local Authority, as Planning Permission is likely to be required.

What factors may affect whether I can build?

Permitted development rights are restricted or may not apply if you live in the following areas:

  • Conservation Area
  • National Park
  • Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • World Heritage Site
  • Norfolk or Suffolk Broads

Type of Property
If your property is a Listed building then you’ll likely need Listed Building Consent for any building works you wish to carry out and you may need to submit a Planning Application. Your local planning office will be best placed to advise you in this case.

Building Size & Type of Building
The size and type of building you intend to construct will dictate whether you can go ahead and build or whether you’d need to seek Planning Permission.

Commercial property, flat or maisonette: If you have a commercial property, a flat or maisonette then you should  seek advice from your local planning office.

Overnight accommodation: If you intend to use your garden building for overnight accommodation then planning permission would be required. Although an occasional sleepover wouldn’t generally be considered illegal it should be remembered that garden rooms are generally exempt from many safety regulations ( including  fire regulations) , so if you did intend to use the building for very occasional sleepovers, you’ll certainly need to ensure these safety regulations are complied with for your own safety and security.

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When may Planning Permission not be required

Below are some general guidelines for when Planning Permission may not be required:

  • If you only intend to use your garden building for domestic purposes.
  •  The ground area covered by your proposed building and any other buildings in the property boundary, (excluding the house itself) are not more than half the total area of the property.
  •  No part of the building has a front or side elevation of the original house that faces onto a road.
  • The maximum height of the building is 4 metres.
  • The maximum eaves height of the building is 2.5 metres and is within 2 metres of the property boundary.
  •  No part of the building is within 3.5 metres of the boundary of a road to the rear of the house.
  • The building is not used for the keeping of pigeons.
Check before you start

Hopefully, these tips and advice will help with your plans but we’d always recommend checking planning permission requirements with your Local Authority

If you think that you may need Planning  Permission or you’re just not sure, then we certainly wouldn’t recommend you proceeding without checking first – imagine how distressing and expensive it might be if you had to take your lovely new building down.

 Most Local Planning Departments offer ‘Pre Application Advice’ so for a small fee you can find out and get the advice in writing too.

If we can help with a quotation for your garden building please get in touch 01747 853067.



What sort of base will I need for my garden building?

  • Discover the best base to use for your garden building.
  • Learn why assessing the area is so important.
  • Find out whether a concrete or timber base is best.
  • Discover why a sub-frame is a quick and easy way to lay a base and why it’s great for undulating ground.
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