Understanding Local Authorities approvals

Understanding Local Authorities approvals

August 2018

This Article looks at Planning Permission and Building Regulations and the effect these regulations had on outbuildings, Conservatories, Fences Gates and Garden walls.

At this stage it is worth reiterating, Responsibilities and General advice as follows:


As with all building work, the owner of the property in question is ultimately responsible for complying with the relevant Local Authorities planning and building regulations.

Failure to comply with these rules and regulations will result in the owner being liable for any remedial action. Use the Guild of Master Craftsmen website www.findacraftsman.com for trades’ people who will be aware of these issues.

General advice to all property owners is to discuss your building proposals with your Local Authority Planning and Building Control departments.

Further consideration, must be given, before commencing any building related work are as follows:

1. Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015.
2. Part Wall etc. Act 1996.
3. Conservation area and Listed Building consent.
4. Rights of Way

Planning Regulations covering Outbuildings:

Rules governing Outbuildings apply to sheds, greenhouses, and garages as well as other ancillary garden buildings such as swimming pools, ponds, sauna or Jacuzzi cabins, kennels, enclosures such as tennis courts and many other kinds of structure for the purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house.

Other rules relate to the installation of a satellite dish, the erection or provision of fuel storage tanks.

Under the new regulations outbuildings are considered to be permitted development, not needing planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:

  • No outbuilding on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation.
  • Outbuildings and garages to be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5m. and maximum overall height of 4m. with a dual pitched roof or 3m. for any other roof.
  • Maximum height of 2.5m. within 2m. of a boundary.
  • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
  • No more than half the area of land around the original house would be covered by additions or other buildings.
  • In National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage sites the maximum area to be covered by buildings, enclosures, containers and pools more than 20m. From the house to be limited to 10 square metres.
  • On designated land buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side of the property will require planning permission.
  • Within the cartilage of listed buildings any outbuildings will require planning permission.

The term original house means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1st July 1948 (if it was built before that date).

Designated land includes National Parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Conservation Areas and World Heritage Sites.

Building Regulations:

If you want to put up a small detached building such as a garden shed or summerhouse in your garden, building regulations will not normally apply if the floor area is less than 15m.square.

If the floor area is between 15 and 30m. square you will not normally require building regulation approval providing that the building is either at least 1m. from any boundary or is constructed of substantially non combustible materials.

In both cases, building regulations do not apply providing the building does not contain any sleeping accommodation.

Planning Regulations covering Conservatories:

Under these new regulations adding a Conservatory to your home is considered to be permitted development, subject to the following limits and conditions:

  • No more than half the area of land around the original house would be covered by additions or other buildings.
  • No extension forward of the principal elevation or side elevation fronting the highway.
  • Maximum height of a single storey extension of 3m. for an attached house and 4m. for a detached house.
  • Maximum depth of 3m.for rear extension of more than one storey including ground floor.
  • Maximum eaves height within 2m. of boundary of 3m.
  • Maximum ridge height no higher than existing house.
  • Side extension to be single storey with maximum height of 4m. and width no more than half the original house.
  • Roof pitch of extension to match that of the original house.
  • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.

Building Regulations

Building regulations will normally apply to extensions however Conservatories are normally exempt if the following rules apply:

  • They are built at ground level and are less than 30m. square in floor area.
  • At least half the new wall and three quarters of the roof is either glazed or translucent material.
  • The conservatory is separated from the house by external quality door(s).
  • Glazing and any fixed electrical installation comply with the applicable building regulations requirements.

You should be aware of problems of constructing a conservatory under first floor windows. This may lead to a restricted ladder access or restrict an escape route if there is a fire.

Any new structural opening between the Conservatory and the existing house will require Building Regulation approval.

Planning Regulations covering Fences, Gates and Garden Walls

You will need to apply for planning permission if you wish to erect or add to a fence, wall or gate if:

  • It is over 1m high and next to a highway used by vehicles. (or the footpath of such a highway) or 2m. high elsewhere.
  • Your right to put up or alter a fence, wall and gates is removed by an article 4 direction or a planning condition.
  • Your house is a listed building or in the cartilage of a listed building.
  • The fence wall or gate of any other boundary involved forms a boundary with a neighbouring listed building or its cartilage.

You will not need to apply for planning permission to take down a fence, wall or gate, or alter or improve an existing fence, wall or gate (no height restriction) if you do not increase its height. Note: in a conservation area you may need consent.

You do not need planning permission for hedges. However check for covenants on restricting planting (open plan estates, or where a driver’s sight line may be restricted). In these instances you may need to apply for planning permission.

Building Regulations:

Fences, Walls and Gates do not require building regulation approval. However the structures must be structurally sound and regularly maintained.

If the garden wall or fence is classed as a ‘Party fence wall’ then under the Party Walls Act etc 1996 you must notify your adjoining neighbour (contact your local authority for further advice).


Please note this is a general guide and note a definitive source of legal information.

The Guild of Master Craftsmen would always recommend you contact your Local Authority before carrying out any of the above work.