A summer house is like an extra room in your garden. Giving more leisure space and versatility, it is a fantastic addition to a garden area which can provide enjoyment, as well as being a pleasant space to relax in the shade. As they often take up a little more space than a typical shed, many people worry that they will need to get summer house planning permission before having one put into their garden. The good news is that this is very unlikely to be the case.
A summer house, like a shed, kennel, sauna cabin or swimming pool, is classed as an outbuilding. As a general rule, outbuildings are considered to be ‘permitted developments’. This means that if you want to put one in your garden, you do not need to apply for planning permission. But – of course there is a but – there are some limitations. On the whole, these limitations are for outbuildings which are far larger than garden summer houses or sheds. There are also limitations if your property is a listed building or in a conservation area. Just to be on the safe side, it is a good idea to acquaint yourself with the limitations which mean an outbuilding would require planning permission.
Planning permission conditions for outbuildings
If your property is on designated land it is very likely that you will need planning permission to add an outbuilding like a summer house. Designated land refers to any area that is a conservation area, a World Heritage Site, an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or a national park. If your house is in such an area you will not be permitted to add an outbuilding to the front or side of your house without obtaining planning permission, and if you want to add an outbuilding over 20 metres from the main building, it must be not larger than 10 metres squared. If you live in a listed building, you will not be allowed to put an outbuilding in the grounds without planning permission.
Outbuildings are not permitted development if they are forward of the ‘principle elevation’ of your property, so you won’t be able to put a summer house in your front garden without getting planning permission first. In terms of how large an outbuilding you are allowed, it must not be larger than 50% of the total area of land around the house – which would have to be a pretty large summer house. Also, to be considered a permitted development, outbuildings must not be separate living accommodation. There are also restrictions on how high an outbuilding should be in order to be permitted development: not higher than 4.5 metres, or 2 metres if it is within 2 metres of the property boundary.
If you think any of these restrictions may apply to you, more detailed information can be found at the government’s Planning Portal website (http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/commonprojects/outbuildings/miniguide). For those who don’t live on designated land, and want to add a standard sized, quality summer house to their back garden, it is very likely indeed that planning permission will not be necessary, and the summer house can be put in place whenever is convenient. If this is the case, you are good to go. There is nothing to stop you from adding a fantastic summer house to your garden , and making the most of the warm weather this year, and for many summers to come.