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Shedding Light On Planning Permission

Shedding Light On Planning Permission

I have always thought of sheds as simply a place to keep old tools and lawnmowers - basic wood or plastic boxes, rarely entered and smelling of grass and mud.  But it seems that my view is rapidly becoming antiquated as we enter a new golden age – that of “The Luxury Shed”.

Sheds, it seems, are being taken more and more seriously.  They are now an £8billion industry in the UK.  There is even a Shed of the Year contest, which has celebrated Britain's sheds for the past nine years.  This year’s lucky winner was announced on Sunday – an old hen house in Aviemore converted to contain a general store farm shop, a ladies’ waiting room, a saloon and a bar complete with functioning gin distillery (for pictures, go to http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardeningpicturegalleries/11735527/The-2015-Shed-of-the-Year-competition-The-winner-in-pictures.html?frame=3373302).

It seems that far from the dark and dank boxes of my imagination, modern luxury sheds are innovative and exciting.  Sheds have even inspired their own erotic book, “50 Sheds of Grey: Erotica for the not-too-modern male”.  I admit to not having read the book (I am seemingly not part of its target demographic), but the fact that it outsold its namesake when it was first published in late 2012 is testament to the close relationship many people have with their sheds.

If you are thinking of creating your own perfect backyard retreat, you should be aware of the following:

  • Size matters
    If your shed does not take up more than 50% of your garden it doesn’t require planning permission (but beware: if your house is a listed building or in a conservation area the shed must be even smaller, with a footprint no greater than 4 square metres). The shed also cannot be too tall: the eaves cannot be more than 3 metres high; no part of the building can be over 4 metres high; and any part of the shed that comes within 1 metre of the edge of the property cannot be more than 2.5 metres high.
  • Hidden assets
    You will not need planning permission to build your shed provided it is not located in front of any part of the house which faces a road. 
  • It’s what you do with it
    The shed must be used for something connected to the residential use of the property.

Step outside these parameters and a formal planning application to the Council will be required. It will cost £202 to apply, plus the cost of drawing up your plans, but all things considered surely that is a small price to pay to build the potential next Shed of the Year!

Julia Barette
Trainee Solicitor