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The things you can do in your back garden - no permission required

Whatever you’re planning on building, though, the golden rule is to check with your local authority first, or you might end up wasting a lot of money.

Many of us eye up our gardens and wonder what we could build without getting all tangled up in our nightmarish planning system. Most of us aren’t even sure if we need permission for a shed. There are, you’ll be pleased to hear, quite a lot of things you can do without permission, most of which are covered by your Permitted Development (PD) rights. These include:
1) Rear extensions
2) Garden offices
3) Sheds
4) Greenhouses
5) Garages
6) Playhouses
7) Bike and bin sheds
8) Saunas

PD comes with a large number of restrictions (see below) but as long as you follow the rules, you can, in theory just get on with your project. However, as it’s a complex area it would be wise, before you do anything, to check with your local planning authority and then apply for a Lawful Development Certificate, which proves your building is fully compliant. If you don’t and there is any doubt about the legitimacy of what you’ve built, it can cause serious problems when you come to sell. The good news is that a Lawful Development Certificate is relatively cheap and easy to obtain and your neighbours have very limited means to object.

Not everyone has the same PD rights – flats and maisonettes do not and, if you live in a National Park, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a Conservation Area or your home is listed, those rights can be removed or restricted. There is also a limit on how many changes you can make using PD. Your planned new building, along with anything that was added to the house or garden (including sheds) since 1948 must, together, not take up more than 50% of your total garden area.

PD rules vary according to what you are building but the three main categories are listed below. Bear in mind that these are rough guides only and you should always check the full details before you do anything.

Rear Garden Extensions
The main PD requirements are:

They cannot extend beyond the rear of the original house by more than four metres for a detached house; or three metres for any other house.
• They cannot exceed four metres in height, but if the extension comes within two metres of a boundary, the height at the eaves cannot exceed three metres.
• The materials should be of a similar appearance to those on the existing exterior of the house.
• They must not, together with any other extensions or outbuilding added since 1948, take up more than half the garden.
• You can build a larger extension of up to eight metres for a detached house; or six metres for any other house if you apply to the local authority for Prior Approval. They will then consult with any adjoining neighbours. If any objections are raised, they will only be taken into consideration if there is an impact on the amenity of their property ie such things as - overlooking, overshadowing, loss of daylight or privacy.

Two storey rear extensions
The main PD requirements are:

• They will need Prior Approval (see above).
• They cannot extend beyond the rear of the original house by more than three metres and should be at least seven metres from the rear boundary.
• The roof pitch should match the existing house.• The overall building height should be no more than 7m.• Together with any other extensions or outbuilding added since 1948, they must not take up more than half the garden.
• The materials should be of a similar appearance to those on the existing exterior of the house.

Garden offices/studios
The main PD requirements are:

• These must be single storey with eaves no higher than 2.5 metres or less than 4 metres for a dual-pitched roof or 3 metres for any other type of roof.
• The overall height must be no more than 2.5 metres if the building is within 2 metres of the boundary of the plot.
• No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.• Together with any other extensions or outbuilding added since 1948, they cannot take up more than half the garden.
• They cannot be used for overnight accommodation.

Sheds, playhouses, greenhouses, garages and sauna cabins
The main PD requirements are:

• These must be single storey with eaves no higher than 2.5 metres or less than 4 metres for a dual-pitched roof or 3 metres for any other type of roof.
• The overall height must be no more than 2.5 metres if the building is within 2 metres of the boundary of the plot.
• No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.• Together with any other extensions or outbuilding added since 1948, they cannot take up more than half the garden.

 *Whatever you’re planning on building, though, the golden rule is to check with your local authority first, or you might end up wasting a lot of money and have to take it all down again.

Links:
Planning Portalwww.planningportal.co.uk
Permitted Development www.planningportal.co.uk
Lawful Development Certificates www.planningportal.co.uk
Prior Approval  

If, on the other hand, you’re one of the many who’ve got no space to expand into, we can help find you a bigger home in any of the following areas:
Bermondsey SE1/SE16
Brockley SE4
Bow E3
Canada Water SE16
Canary Wharf E14
Deptford SE8
Greenwich SE10
Lewisham SE13
New Cross SE14
Rotherhithe SE16
St Johns SE8 L
Stratford E15
Surrey Quays SE16
Telegraph Hill SE14
Victoria Park E9
Wapping E1