Do you need planning permission for a shed or outbuilding in the UK?

Well, it depends…

Here in the UK, usually you don’t need planning permission because putting up a shed or outbuilding is classed as ‘permitted development’ which allows outbuildings up to a certain size to be built without planning permission.

However, do check with your local council – for example where I used to live, permitted development rights have been revoked, meaning you have to apply for permission (but not full planning permission) from the council, although with a shed, nobody will probably mind – it’s mainly there to control inappropriate conservatories and other extensions.

In addition, your land might have restrictive covenants than require you to obtain permissions, but once again, these are mainly aimed at permanent alterations/extensions – sheds are usually wooden and are classed as non-permanent structures.

If you are within a national park, area of outstanding natural beauty, world heritage site or conservation area, then planning permission almost certainly will be required.

For further details, you can visit the UK government Planning Portal or contact your local council.

How tall can My Shed be?

The maximum height is determined by how close you are to the boundary (known as the curtilage) of your garden, and what type of roof you are going to have (i.e. apex/pointed or flat/slab). 

Will any part of your shed be closer than 2 metres from the curtilage?

Being close to your boundary means a greater potential visual impact for your neighbours and/or to the character of the area, so if this is the case, then the maximum height permitted is 2.5 metres regardless of roof type.

Will it be more than 2 metres away from the curtilage?

If your building will be more than 2 metres away from the ‘curtilage’ of your house then a flat / slab roof can be up to 3 metres high at its highest point and a maximum of 2.5 metres at the lower eave. If you have dual pitched roof, then it can be up to 4 metres high, again with a maximum of 2.5 metres to the eaves.

Regardless of the legal aspect, do consider the impact it might have on your neighbours, both visually and thinking about blocking sunlight etc.

How much floor space can a Shed have?

In theory, it can occupy up to 50% of the space within your curtiladge. However, buildings above 15m2 might be subject to building regulations and/or require planning permission – it all depends on the intended use and to some degree, the materials used in the construction.

The floor space has to be on one level i.e. you cannot create an ‘upstairs’. Oh, and the ‘use’ of the building has to be ‘ancillary’ to the house i.e. you can’t live in it!

What about Building Regulations? Well that’s a separate topic and we’ll be talking about them in another article, but for most garden buildings under 15m2, they won’t apply.

Can I have a shed in my front garden?

Probably not. In general you can’t ‘officially’ have a structure that extends beyond the front line of your house – check with your local council planning department for clarification for your specific plot.


The information contained here was correct, as far as I know, at the time of publishing and relates to England. Regulations can and do change and are subject to different interpretation by officials. This is not legal advice, just my point of view.

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