An Evesham agents views on planning permission in permitted developments.
31st October 2011
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Permitted Developments, Do you need to get Planning Permission?

A slightly dry subject, but have you thought about improving or extending your property to meet your increasing needs and requirements? Do you need planning permission? However this is very relevant if you are planning to build an office in the garden for home working? In some circumstances you will require permission, however in other situations permission does not need to be sought. These situations are known as Permitted Development Rights where there are exceptions to the rule of planning requirements. Outbuildings are considered to be a permitted development and therefore do not require planning permission before work is undertaken. To ensure that the outbuilding will be classed as a permitted development there are conditions or limitations set which must be complied with.  The description ‘Outbuildings’ cover a variety of structures and buildings such as Sheds, Summerhouses to Stables and Containers used to store household Oil or Gas.

Where are you allowed to build such a permitted development on your land? The outbuilding must meet the constraints relating to location and size to ensure that you do not fall foul, and breech planning regulations. The construction of any Outbuilding is not permitted if they are located to the side of the principal dwelling. The principle dwelling in this case is the ‘primary’ property of residence, your main house. This development site must not be forward of the principle elevation of the original house which in the case of permitted development is your house as it was first built or, as the property was before the 1st July 1948, if construction was before this date. Where you wish for the new building to be in either of these situations planning permission for the construction of the outbuilding will need to be obtained. 

Once you have decided on the general location of the site, and the outbuilding is still within the constraints of permitted development, next is to establish how big your outbuilding is allowed to be. The overall size of the development is the next constraint to be placed on permitted developments. The total area of the outbuilding must not exceed 50% of the total area of land surrounding the original house which is available. Any extensions or outbuildings which you may or may not have added to the principle dwelling must also be included when you calculate 50% of the available area. Therefore, the more outbuildings you wish to construct within your grounds the smaller the available area will become. 

Once the location and size have been calculated and planned, the next step is to determine how high your outbuilding can be whilst still falling within permitted development requirements. This is yet another criterion which must be met. Any outbuilding to be a classed as a permitted development is only to be of single storey with a maximum height of 2.5 meters. If a pitched roof is to be included in the construction of the outbuilding, the total height must not exceed 4 meters. For any other roof the maximum height is only to be 3 meters. Where the site which is chosen for an outbuilding is within 2m of the property boundary with your neighbours, the total height of the outbuilding must not exceed 2.5m. Should the site be near to a boundary any development will affect the interests of your neighbours, who could place objections about construction. The position must be carefully considered so as not to block or obstruct any close windows and doors on your neighbour’s property as they have a legal ‘Right to Light’. Negligence in adhering to this on your part, could result in legal action. Another issue relating to developments close to neighbouring boundaries is that of the requirement for either yourself or workers to gain access to their property to carry out construction works. The granting of this access must be obtained prior to the works taking place, or you could risk negligence if a nuisance is caused to neighbours, resulting again in possible legal action. 

If your outbuilding meets the criteria of permitted developments there are further criteria which if met means that Building Regulations will not be required. These situations arise where the outbuilding has an area of less than 15 m2, such as sheds and greenhouses, these will not generally require an application under the Building Regulations 2000. If the outbuilding is larger than 15 m2 the building can still be exempt where the maximum floor area is less than 30 m2. In such a case the outbuilding site must be a minimum of 1 meter from any neighbouring boundary. However, if constructed from entirely non combustible materials this rule does not apply for building regulations. For example if the frame of the building is constructed from timber the building must be 1m from the boundary. An outbuilding constructed from steel and concrete it would be classed as non-combustible and therefore the minimum 1m constriction distance would not apply. 

Permitted development can be further restricted in certain ‘designated areas’ such as if it is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Conservation Areas, both situations are prevalent in the Worcestershire area. In the cases of listed buildings found in areas such as the Market Place and Abbey grounds in Evesham and in villages such as Badsey and Broadway, the construction of any outbuildings within the grounds of properties in these areas is not permitted and permission must be sought from Wychavon District Council. Where the property is located within an AONB any outbuilding to be put up on the grounds of the property must not be sited closer than 20m to the external walls of the principle dwelling and the total area must not exceed 10 m2 to constitute a permitted development.

Once all of these constraints and restrictions have been met and the site for the outbuilding has been planned, the final constraint is that the outbuilding must not create a separate self contained accommodation and no microwave aerial is permitted on the building. 

For other common developments and improvements in your garden such as decking, platforms and fuel containers, certain constraints must again be met to ensure compliance for permitted development and that you can go ahead without prior permission. Should you wish to have decking and platforms, provided that these are constructed no higher than 300mm they will be assumed to be a permitted development. If household fuel containers are required for your properties gas or oil, these can be placed in your garden providing that the tank volume is no greater than 3500 litres. 

I hope you found the article helpful. If you are in doubt, please ask the planners to verify whether your proposed outbuilding complies with the requirements of permitted development. The planning departments of the local councils are always very helpful, and really are worth a quick visit to, just to make sure you are fully compliant of the regulations. Wychavon District Council’s telephone number is 01386 765700. 


Co authors: Tony Rowland, Abigail Brain.



About the Author

Alan J

Member since: 10th July 2012

Whilst running The Best of Evesham I am also locally focussed on doing what I can for the local community in profiling what is going on.A prolific user of Social Media-We offer Social Media Management...

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