Welcome. You will find your answer here, if you need a quick
response to any questions on this subject I usually
reply by email on the same day - Get answers here > email@example.com
Garden Studios and Offices are accepted everywhere just follow
the rules listed on this page.
Accommodation buildings in gardens are more complex and are
in big demand now for quite a few reasons. We are specialists in
design and build for all garden building projects. Also we
advise on both
Planning Permission and Building Regulation compliance should either or both
Your answers to both planning permission and building regulations questions will all
be here. To create
comfortable extra living space complete project costs are £1200 - £1800 per sq metre.
Without plumbing the costs are less. Firstly a quick summary followed
by a lot of detail. If you would like this document in pdf. email me
directly firstname.lastname@example.org or use the download link here:
Here are the short answers to the question - "Do I need planning permission for my Garden Building
project or Annexe and what about Building Regulations?"
"It is VITAL to understand that Building Regulations and Planning
Permission are two completely separate subjects". I cannot emphasise
this enough so here it is again - Don't
confuse planning permission and building regulations.
If you build a garden structure with a footprint of 30 square
metres or under, the only mandatory Building Regulation that
applies is electrical safety "Part P". An electrician must
sign off for electrical safety (that's all). I have the
qualification and often do this sign off myself. If all is
installed correctly, test and verification is quick and easy.
You get a certificate which is sometimes necessary for insurance
purposes + "peace of mind" of course. Domestic type electrical
systems are quite simple but MUST in every case be certified safe.
Any garden structure over 30 sq metres (footprint) requires full compliance
regulation rules. This adds to the cost per sq metre as full
detailed constructional calculations and site visits by building
control before and during construction are required.
For the "do I need planning permission" question you will need
to understand more about the restrictions associated with "Permitted
Development" (height and proximity to your boundary etc.) All the
detail you need is here below.
My first advice is - "always make sure that your proposed
project is neighbour friendly". If it is not you will find the
whole process stressfull.
Above - buildings which meet permitted
development rules - on the left low pitch roof full living annexe
and on the right - A Garden Studio with curved roof - both are high
spec... - (Both meet PD rules and neither required Building
Regulation applications). We recently completed a Granny
Annexe of 30 sq. metres by converting and extending an existing
- again within
All of the information is below (there is a lot of it but it
is all here).
This applies to detached garden structures and
outbuildings including sheds, studios, offices, gymnasiums, annexes,
ancillary accommodation buildings, outdoor kitchens and leisure
buildings. Written and updated regularly by Richard Grace (updated
19/06/2017). We provide consultancy during your research and design
phase + full design and or build services. Our services include any
application submissions plans and drawings etc. that may be
If you are using local builders we can supply detailed design and
working documentation with full specifications + material
Recent news - 1/4/16 (in the last parliament) there was an attempt by
George Osbourne to change the tax rules relating to
accommodation buildings and council tax. This was "almost"
immediately withdrawn thanks to the Telegraph newspaper and further
intervention by Eric Pickles.
See telegraph debate STARTED
18/02/17 web address here:
This is our most visited web page. If you are
considering building something a bit more than a shed in your
garden you will need to know a lot about this subject. I must
have been involved in answering most if not all of your
questions. These questions come from everywhere in the UK. In
the last 12 months alone there have been 62,672 visitors to this
page spending on average more than 4.4 minutes. You are not alone! May 2017 was the
record month so far!
For sample plans or more information about how to
negotiate this minefield "yourself". email
with a brief overview of your proposed project /
idea. I answer most specific questions by email (same day)
Our planning application service includes - site survey, application management
full set of drawings and all necessary specifications). Our charge for this service
is typically £800.00. If Building Regulation compliance is required
we can manage this process including drawings and structural calculations to sign off and
certification - the total cost is typically £2-3K.
Council Tax and Granny Annexe
Eric Pickles announced (A few years ago) help for families
wishing to provide Granny Annexe accommodation. This help was in the form of re-imbursing councils for loss of council
tax on new ancillary dwelling units. This has cleared up the objections
councils had for this type of accommodation. You can see the
government announcement the link is here.
Recent government statement on Granny annexes
The PD (Permitted Development) newest changes (see below) are
governed by law. This information is up to date. For info about
house extensions see: "Planning portal latest update - (class E
applies) -pdf download here>
updated technical guidance The most relevant changes further
streamlining the planning process came into force on 25/6/2016.
My comments on the most recent changes:
It is interesting that these on-going changes have reinforced a
softening in the approach to accommodation for elderly relatives or
teenagers. It does however make it clear that additional accommodation
for RENTAL - "beds in sheds" is NOT included. (the key here is that the
new development should be "ancillary") i.e. if your
proposal is family related and to provide more living space
that is fine - renting for income is different. On 06/02/2017
an individual who rented an annexe now in his 5th year of occupation
contacted me - he recieved a council tax bill for £5500. This point of
law is not easy to find and now landlord and/or tenant face the
unexpected bill. The law is simply not clear enough. Keeping in
touch with all changes my conclusion remains that our
governments continue to recognise that families need to extend
without having to move home. This continues to be good news for
those wishing to develop their existing home and of course for small
builders. The introduction of a "neighbour consultation scheme"
makes a lot of sense but needs to be updated. The key issue is that a
garden building development for residential use must be "ancillary" to the main property and
certainly so if it is to be used as additional living accommodation.
Eric Pickles (during his period as communities secretary) originally made his statement about making it easier
to obtain permissions to develop living annexes as part of your own
home. This was driven by the economic need to provide more housing.
The proposals represented a whole lot of common sense and were aimed
at benefitting families considering options for offspring and for elderly care. It
is now quite normal and has somewhat filtered down to the planning regime
which traditionally catches up slowly.
In any case the debate is where it is. All recent changes
reflect the trend confirmed by our own enquiries and questions
received from readers of this page.
Here is a statement which may be helpful:Clarification regarding granny annexes in particular. I
understand there may be some confusion, but so long as they are
still within the size constraints of the garden out-buildings
set out in Class E of the GPDO, the use of the outbuilding as a
granny-annex is not relevant. The test is whether the use of the
proposed outbuilding is incidental to the use of the house. So
long as it is an annexe ( i.e. essentially another part of your home), and not a separate
dwelling (or other use that might create a separate planning unit),
it is permitted development. Permitted development rights are
reduced by being in Conservation Areas only (i.e. article 1(5)
land); location within green belt is irrelevant.
Our government wants planning to be easier as part of their
economic strategy. The councils are keen to generate revenue from
additional council tax. Both issues here are easy to understand and
occasionaly this creates some confusion. This page concentrates mainly on planning and
building regulations for detached back garden buildings of any type
including garden studios for living / sleeping over.
business is consulting, designing and project managing full
installations. We also provide Planning application services and advice to clients in the research
phase of their project and preparin the documentation (designs,
plans and constructional specifications for other builders). Trends - Garden Studios, Granny Annexes and Garden Accommodation
Buildings As enquiries about accommodation buildings in
particular granny annexes are growing fastest, we have
prepared example plans for buildings of which provide full
accommodation facilities at project cost between £28,000 and £60,000
(depending on spec / size). If you would like to receive specific info
about design and process - send email to me at
Including a brief description of your project (purpose and envisaged
facilities). Editable sample plans, drawings and documents
are available for £150 each. (saves time and cost in starting from
scratch) - Please send house number and postcode + brief description
for sample editable plans in excel format (scaleable for application
To see the
government paper and mini-guide without our comments + other
sources please follow more links in the
To read about running a business from home in a garden building
- legislation, taxation change of use etc. see our
About the permitted development rules 2008 (planning) -
includes the actual legislative statements which are current.
Planning rules remain
somewhat ambiguous / subject to some local interpretation
particularly in relation to size, eaves height and proximity to your
boundary. For buildings up to 30 sq m permission is not
normally required.In some cases it is better to apply for
permission or obtain a "letter of conformity" - rather than take a
risk or accept a design simply to comply with an interpretation of
the "permitted development" rules. If you wish to make a planning
application or seek a letter of conformity we are able to assist.
The whole process has been made somewhat easier as all authorities accept
on-line applications through the planning portal which works well
(and recently passed more than 1.8 million applications). "Well
done guys this has saved an enormous amount of paper" (in their
Regarding the planning portal we can confirm it
works and helps.
By far the most important planning issue remains - "how your project
will effect your neighbours". You simply need to ask yourself "is the
proposed new building and its intended use reasonable" and
furthermore "does it
affect your neighbours enjoyment of their own property". You
should consider carefully - traffic patterns, noise and blockage of
light (ask yourself these questions) and then talk with your
neighbours. Put simply if you have a problem with planning
permission it is usually a neighbour issue. In every formal application
neighbours are consulted and it is the duty of planners to take this
into account. This makes sense! You have these rights to develop in
your garden and
the planners wish to make it easy.Here are ALL the
2008 Permitted Development rules (up to date) with my explanation
of how they
apply to buildings in your garden - Government statements in grey my
own comments in black.
Nearly everyone is concerned about planning issues. We are in
a good position to advise (having discussed these issues in
relation to more than 2500 garden building projects throughout
the UK with both
clients and planners). Note / Disclaimer:We cannot take responsibility for any
dispute that may arise. If in doubt you should check yourself with your local
planning authority and if necessary seek a letter of compliance for your project. In
any case we would advise against going ahead without planning permission
if your project was either in contravention of the rules or clearly
detrimental to your neighbours enjoyment of their property. There is a
retrospective route but this can be quite stressfull.
Bedfordshire, Luton Berkshire Reading, Bracknell, Maidenhead,
Newbury, Wokingham, Buckinghamshire Aylesbury, High Wycombe
Cambridgeshire Cambridge, Wisbech, Cheshire Chester x 9, Stockport,
Sale, Ellesmere Port, Birkenhead, Wallasey, Runcorn, Macclesfield,
Crewe Cornwall None yet Cumberland Penrith, Keswick Derbyshire
Derby, Chesterfield, Buxton, Ashbourne Devon Barnstaple Dorset not
yet Durham not yet Essex Chelmsford x 2, Basildon, and 5 times in
Buckhurst Hill Gloucestershire Gloucester, Bristol, Cheltenham
Hampshire Winchester Hertfordshire Watford, St. Albans x3, Hemel
Hempstead, Stevenage, Huntingdonshire St. Ives, St. Neots, Kent
Maidstone, Canterbury, Bromley, Greenwich Merseyside Liverpool,
Lancashire Southport X 3 Manchester, Preston, Bolton, Warrington
Leicestershire Leicester, Lincolnshire Lincoln, Grimsby, Louth
Middlesex, London, x 11, Enfield x3, Staines, Ealing Norfolk
Norwich, Cromer, Hunstanton Northamptonshire Northampton, Kettering,
Wellingborough Northumberland None yet Nottinghamshire Mansfield,
Worksop, Newark, Oxfordshire Oxford, Banbury, Witney,
Henley-on-Thames, Thame Rutland one in the sticks Shropshire
Shrewsbury, Somerset Bath, Staffordshire Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent,
Suffolk Ipswich, Bury St. Edmunds Surrey Guildford x 6 Croydon,
Woking, Sutton, Kingston-on-Thames, Wandsworth, Wimbledon x4 Sussex
Crawley, Warwickshire Warwick, Birmingham, Coventry,Rugby,
Stratford-upon-Avon Westmorland Windermere, Wiltshire Devizes
Worcestershire Evesham Yorkshire Beverley, Halifax, Harrogate,York
North Wales x 8, Wrexham Scotland x 1, South Wales x 4, Cardif.
Planning permission for Garden Studios,
Garden Offices and Insulated Garden Buildings - webmasters are free
Planning Permission and Permitted Development
written By Richard Grace Project Director Garden Structures
Bracken House CH4 6LB Tel 01244 679502 email
webmaster links - please use text (Garden
Building Planning and Building Regulations)
Consultancy and pre-planning advice services available
Services including planning advice, architectural drawings and
specifications, structural engineering / thermal efficiency
calculations, supplier selection and project management. If busy we
can recommend alternative sources.
You can ask your local authority for Pre-Planning-Advice directly
and speak to a planning officer, to get the best out of this. My
advice is to be completely prepared with drawings and proposals
having talked firstly with your neighbours. For a visit most
authorities make a charge of around £200 - £300. They cannot at the
pre-planning stage tell you if your project will succeed.
You can read "My amazing 3 hour visit to a London
Planning Office" Check out my blog post at
My Battle with Planners - South London
This is a blow by blow account of a very difficult situation.
I hope you found this page useful. If you have comments please let me know
- Thanks - Richard - please send comments direct to
In any case I hope it helps clarify a few things.
There is - recent news here with my comments @
I have read this article with interest. For
years I have studied this market / spoken to many hundreds
of people looking for garden accommodation for a solution to
family situations. + Designed and built
many such projects.
The law still needs to be clarified in this way
with regards to permanent additional detached living
accommodation in gardens: (living annexes / ancillary
Further to this – a new neighbour
consultation scheme should be introduced.
Noise and traffic are always a concern and
it should be clear that such development is not for rental and
generation of income, unless of course the building is
specifically for this purpose.
email questions to:
Additional clarification on "ancillary"
accommodation buildings only - download pdf here: This is
currently not operated in a uniform way by
different local authorities. >>
Note: on ancillary buildings.pdf
This complete document in .pdf
Next step is to make a check list with action points "strawman"
at next step is right here: