Do You Need Planning Permission for a Garage in My Garden in England?

If you are planning a garage, cart lodge or car port you may be asking yourself Do I Need Planning Permission for a Garage. This blog post will take you through the different requirements to offer you a helping hand.

3/31/20246 min read

a two story brick house with a garage
a two story brick house with a garage

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Garage in My Garden in England?

Are you considering building a garage in your garden in England? You may be wondering whether or not you need planning permission for this project. In most cases, garages can be built in gardens without the need for planning permission. However, there are some important restrictions and guidelines to be aware of. This blog post will provide you with all the information you need to know about planning permission for garages in gardens in England.

We cover:

Permitted Development Rights

In England, homeowners are granted certain rights known as "permitted development rights." These rights allow you to make certain changes and additions to your property without having to go through the process of obtaining planning permission. These rights apply to various types of development.

One of these rights is Class E Permitted Development, which allows for the erection of buildings within residential gardens, which can include garages, car ports or cart lodges.

The Permitted Development route is often favoured by homeowners who want to avoid the detailed discussions around planning policies, such as any landscape or design matters. However, Permitted Development Rights do not apply to all buildings and locations.

Although in most cases garages can be built under Permitted Development Rights, there are some important restrictions which cover the height, size, location and use of your garage. We cover these in detail below.

  • The garage is located within the boundary of your property.

  • The garage does not exceed a certain height and size limit.

  • The garage is not used for any commercial purposes.

  • The garage is not located in a designated area, such as a conservation area or a national park.

  • The garage does not obstruct the view of the road or pose a threat to road safety.

If your proposed garage meets these criteria, you can proceed with the construction without the need for planning permission.

Size Restrictions

When it comes to the size of your garage, there are specific restrictions that you need to adhere to in order to qualify for permitted development rights.

In order to qualify for Permitted Development Rights, the total area of ground around the house covered by buildings, enclosures or containers must not exceed 50% of the garden area.

The 50% limit includes all buildings, even if they were put in place by a previous owner.

Additional restrictions are in place for protected areas such as World Heritage Sites, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (now called National Landscapes) or the Broads. Conservation Areas. In these areas, the rights restrict the amount of permitted development allowed more than 20 metres away from any wall of the house to just 10 square metres.

Height Restrictions

When it comes to the height and size of your garage, there are specific restrictions that you need to adhere to in order to qualify for permitted development rights. These restrictions vary depending on the location of the garage.

Firstly, to comply with Permitted Development Rights, garages (and other outbuildings) will need to be a single storey. If you plan on having an additional storey for extra living accommodation or as a home office above a garage, you will need planning permission.

The height of your garage must not exceed:

  • 4 metres in the case of a building with a dual-pitched roof,

  • 2.5 metres in the case of a building within 2 metres of the boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse or

  • In any other case - 3 metres.

Government guidance says that the height limit should be measured from the highest ground level immediately adjacent to the building to its highest point. It is important to take this into account if you have a sloping garden.

In all cases, the eaves of the building cannot exceed 2.5 metres.

Location of your garage

As we have set out above, the location of your garage can have implications on the size and height of your garage.

However, Permitted Development Rights also block the building of garages, car ports and cart lodges in certain locations.

Firstly, for Permitted Development Rights to apply, the garage will need to be within the curtilage of your home. This is normally your garden area, but in some properties with large or unusual gardens, it may be a smaller area. If a garage is outside of the curtilage of your home, planning permission is required.

In addition to this, Permitted Development Rights do not allow garages to be in front of the principal elevation of your home.

In most cases, this is fairly clear cut, but for some houses (corner plots for example) there may need to be a judgement made on what constitutes the principal elevation.

As such, in the majority of cases, a garage in your front garden will require planning permission.

In addition to the above, if your home is in a protected area such as World Heritage Sites, National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (now National Landscapes) or Conservation Areas, your garage cannot be between the side of your house and the side boundary of your house.

Using your garage

Permitted Development Rights require garages and outbuildings to be 'incidental to the enjoyment of the house'. This covers many typical examples of garages, cart lodges and car ports and outbuildings for uses such as:

  • Storing cars;

  • General storage space for your house;

  • Garden sheds;

  • Gyms and home offices; and

  • For the keeping of pets.

However, Permitted Development Rights will not allow you to create a new house or a holiday let from your garage.

The term 'incidental to the enjoyment of the house' also restricts the outbuilding or garage being used for commercial uses. Whilst a home garage used to store, maintain and restore your own vehicles is likely to be acceptable, if you are using it as a commercial garage you may well receive a letter from your Council's Enforcement Team.

One often overlooked consideration is that the requirement for buildings to be 'incidental' can also limit its size. For example, if you propose a garage that is much larger than your house, or more intensively used than your house, the Council may take a dim view of this and require you to achieve planning permission.

Other Considerations

If your proposed garages meets all of the above requirements, you might think you are in luck and can crack on and build your garage without planning permission.

However, there are some important pitfalls to be wary of, and missing one of these can cause much stress, complications and extra costs.

In some areas Councils have historically looked to remove Permitted Development Rights in certain sensitive areas. This is achieved through Article 4 Directions which if specified can remove Permitted Development Rights for garages.

Planning conditions can also be used to remove Permitted Development Rights. You will be able to find out from your local council if this applies to you.

Similarly, if your house was granted permission to be used as a house through a change of use Permitted Development Right (such as Class MA commercial to residential conversions) then permitted development rights do not apply to your home.

Class E Permitted Development Rights do not apply to listed buildings. As such, if you live in a listed building, your garage, cart lodge or car port will require planning permission (and potentially listed building consent).

Conclusion

In most cases, you do not need planning permission to build a garage in your garden in England. However, it's important to ensure that your proposed garage meets the criteria set out by permitted development rights, including height and size restrictions.

To conclude the key requirements are as follows:

  • The garage must be located behind the principle elevation (normally the front) of your property and be located within your garden;

  • The maximum height depends on the location and type of roof;

  • It can cover a maximum of 50% of your garden space;

  • It needs to be 'incidental' to your home, both in use and size. A personal garage is okay, but a commercial one is unlikely to be acceptable;

  • Article 4 Directions and Planning Conditions can remove Permitted Development Rights;

  • Extra restrictions are in place for protected areas, and Permitted Development Rights cannot be used for listed buildings; and

  • Before proceeding, we recommend seeking professional advice and a Certificate of Lawfulness application.

Don't forget that depending on the type and size of your garage, you may need to comply with Building Regulations.

At Cedar Planning we have experience in dealing with all types of planning applications and advice. If you require professional help for your garage project, contact Cedar Planning today for a free consultation, and a no-obligation fixed-fee quote.