Do I need Planning Permission?

If you want to build a stable, you will have to consider whether you need planning permission

Most of the mobile buildings that we construct do not need planning permission, but it is always wise to check the new planning rules below.

Planning permission is not about the size of a building; it is about the location and its intended use. Even greenhouses need planning permission in certain circumstances.

Some of our largest buildings have not required planning permission, whilst some of our smallest ones have because they were built in a Conservation Area or other special space.

If you have any basic planning permission questions, you can visit the government information site at or please feel free to contact us on 0800 75 66 301 to ask questions about planning permission.

Planning permission and building regulations are two different things:

  1. Building regulations are about the quality and technical design of a structure.
  2. Planning permission is about the positioning and external appearance of a structure.

Understanding Building Regulations.

Buildings of less than 30 square metres, if they are positioned more than a metre from a boundary and are not going to be used for sleeping accommodation, do not need to meet building regulations. This leads some companies that sell insulated summerhouses and sheds of less than 30 square metres to claim that their buildings ‘meet building regulations.’ when in reality what they mean is ‘our buildings don’t have to comply with building regulations’.

At Woodhouse, we believe that garden office buildings should be designed and built to the same quality as a timber frame house that you would choose to live in all year round. It is, after all, an extension of your home that you and your family will use for many years to come.

We pursue a realistic balance between eco-friendly materials and traditional building methods. We specify construction materials, interior and exterior finishes, and doors and windows that we would personally use if we were building our buildings.

Foundations Permanent buildings need solidly constructed foundations to stop them from subsiding when ground conditions vary and to stop them from blowing away in storms. We recommend our buildings stand on a concrete base with a single course of engineering bricks.

Permanent buildings should not be laid directly on the ground, as subsidence and slippage may occur. However, if you have an existing garage base or other substantial support, we can design a building to fit. We can survey your garden to assess its suitability and then supply detailed foundation plans with full technical instructions to your groundwork builder. We can find a suitable groundworks builder in your area for you as part of our service.

NEW PLANNING RULES FOR ENGLAND [See below for Scotland and Wales]:

From October 2008, rules governing outbuildings apply to sheds, greenhouses, and garages, as well as other ancillary garden buildings such as swimming pools, ponds, sauna cabins, kennels, enclosures (including tennis courts), and many other kinds of structures for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse.

Outbuildings are considered to be permitted development, not needing planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:

There is no outbuilding forward of the principal elevation fronting a highway.
Outbuildings and garages are to be single-storey with a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and a maximum overall height of four metres with a dual pitched roof or three metres for any other roof.

Maximum height: 2.5 metres within two metres 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 20 metres from the house is limited to 10 square metres.

On designated land, buildings, enclosures, containers, and pools at the sides of properties will require planning permission.

Within the curtilage of listed buildings, any outbuilding will require planning permission.

The term “original house” means the house as it was first built or as it stood on July 1, 1948 (if it was built before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to the house, a previous owner may have done so.

Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas, and World Heritage Sites.


You will need to apply for planning permission if any of the following cases apply to the land around your house:

You want to put up a building or structure that would be nearer to any highway than the nearest part of the “original house,” unless there would be at least 20 metres between the new building and any highway. The term “highway” includes public roads, footpaths, bridleways and byways.

More than half the area of land around the “original house” would be covered by additions or other buildings.

The building or structure is not to be used for domestic purposes and is to be used instead, for example, for parking a commercial vehicle, running a business, or storing goods in connection with a business.

You want to put up a building or structure which is more than 3 metres high, or more than 4 metres high if it has a ridged roof. (Measure from the highest ground next to it.)

If your house is a listed building, or you live in a Conservation Area, a National Park, or an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, you want to put up a building or structure with a volume of more than 10 cubic metres.

Note: If your new building has a volume over 10 cubic metres and comes within 5 metres of the house, it would be treated as an extension and would count against your overall volume entitlement.