Advice on outbuildings

Outbuildings in gardens

In most cases, people can put up outbuildings in their gardens without the need for planning permission - this is called "permitted development". However, sometimes this right has been used up or taken away. Please contact the Planning Department first to ensure you do not inadvertently get into difficulties and build something that needs permission.

Size and location

If you have permitted development rights, there are still limits to what you can do (for example the size, height and where it can be located). These are quite complicated, but the Planning Portal has a useful 'interactive house' on its website which allows you to see for yourself.

Use of outbuilding

One of the key things to bear in mind if you are thinking about putting up an outbuilding is what it will be used for. Permission is not required if the outbuilding is used for domestic purposes connected with your house (the technical term for this is "incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house"). However, it cannot contain accommodation that could be used as an independent living space (for example if an outbuilding was permanently laid out as a bedroom)

The following would usually be regarded as acceptable uses:

  • a shed for garden tools
  • a garage to park your car or use for domestic storage
  • a summerhouse
  • a gym for your use (with a shower and WC)
  • an office (for your own personal use where you have no staff, deliveries or appointments for clients)

If you are thinking about a large outbuilding (bigger than a double garage) please contact us regardless of what you will be using it for. We can give you a view on whether permission is required or not.

Changing the use of an existing outbuilding

The main issue here is whether or not the proposed new use will materially change the overall way in which you use your home. You should speak to the Planning Department if you are thinking about a new use which is clearly not for domestic purposes connected with your house or if it is to be used for any form of sleeping accommodation.

If you intend to use the outbuilding for living accommodation separate from your house you would require planning permission.