All garden buildings, including sheds, need to follow regulations to keep on the correct side of planning permission. The height of a shed is limited, especially when positioned close to a boundary.
A garden shed or similar outbuilding can provide many benefits, including for storage and keeping garden furniture protected during the winter. With many of us spending more time at home than before, we have seen an increase in the popularity of garden buildings.
The use of garden buildings has also changed, with many being converted into garden bars or perhaps a garden office. Even if you’re not looking to enjoy the benefits of a garden room, there’s a good chance your neighbour may be planning their own installation.
It can often feel like a bad dream, waking up to see a neighbour has begun construction on an outbuilding close to your garden. To ensure a neighbour’s garden building is not going to ruin the enjoyment of your own property, there are planning rules in place that the building must meet.
Most outbuildings, including sheds, can be installed without planning permission. But if they are too tall then planning permission will be required. If a neighbour has installed a shed which is too very high, they may possibly not be on the correct side of planning regulations.
Note: This information is provided as a guide, If in any doubt you should contact your local planning authority.
Is my neighbour’s shed too high?
In most areas (but not all), Permitted Development rights allow for the construction of an outbuilding for the incidental enjoyment of the main dwelling house. To fall within scope, the shed must meet these height requirements:
Within two metres of a boundary
- Maximum height of 2.5 metres.
More than two metres from a boundary
- Maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of 4 metres with a dual pitched roof or 3 metres with any other roof.
In both cases, the building must be a single story and can also not contain a veranda or balcony. If the height of the building falls out of the scope of the above, it may not be covered under Permitted Development rights and planning permission may be required.
Garden building manufacturers are fully aware of the requirements for planning permission and nearly all pre-built garden sheds are under 2.5m. If a neighbour has a pre-built shed being fitted and it’s on ground level, there is a good chance it falls within the scope of Permitted Development rights.
What is Permitted Development?
In most areas of the UK, outbuildings fall under Permitted Development rights that allows for work to be carried out without applying for planning permission.
The purpose of this is to allow homeowners to make improvements to their properties without the need for a lengthy planning application. The regulations are for houses and do not apply to other types of properties such as flats or maisonettes.
Permitted Development rights are not available in all places of the country and in locations known as ‘designated areas’ Permitted Development rights are restricted. This can affect the ability to install an outbuilding such as a shed or summerhouse.
To install a shed without planning permission it must fall completely within the requirements of Permitted Development and not be located in a designated area.
Does Permitted Development just cover height?
No, the regulations of Permitted Development include how the building will be used and where it will be located.
For example, the outbuilding can not be forward of the wall forming the principal elevation. Therefore the shed cannot be closer to the road than the front wall of the house. No more than half of the area of land around the original house can be taken up by outbuildings either.
On designated land, outbuildings cannot be built to the side of the property, making only the rear garden suitable. Listed buildings always require planning permission for the installation of an outbuilding.
Examples of designated land include The Boards, areas of outstanding national beauty, national parks, conservation areas and world heritage sites.
Check out the Planning Portal to get further details on Permitted Development regulations.
What to do if a neighbour’s shed is too high
How to best handle a neighbour’s garden building that’s too high can be a difficult decision. There may be reasons for objecting to the building that the neighbour has not considered. This could include a lack of privacy or blocking light into the garden.
If you’re friendly with the neighbour, it may be possible to talk with them and come to an agreement. Good communication is the best way to resolve a dispute and will be a lot quicker than alternative methods.
The next step is to contact the Local Planning Authority (LPA). In most locations, this will be the planning department at the local council. The LPA may ask for evidence to be provided such as photographs and could come out to visit and inspect the outbuilding themselves.
Neighbours shed is blocking my light
An issue with large garden buildings is blocking light onto neighbouring properties. A tall shed in a neighbour’s garden could prevent your garden from getting direct sunlight during the day. This is part of the reason that outbuildings within two metres of a neighbouring boundary can only have a maximum height of 2.5 metres.
There is often not much that can be done if the outbuilding is blocking light into a garden. It’s best to speak with the local council to see if there are any solutions they can recommend.
The right to light is a part of the law that gives a long-standing owner of a building with windows the right to continue to maintain an adequate level of light. If a neighbouring shed is now blocking a window then whether the right to light applies could be one avenue to explore. However, this would require specialist knowledge and is best answered by seeking independent advice.
Neighbours shed is overlooking my garden
We all want privacy in our own garden. Whether it’s relaxing in the summer or spending time with family, a garden should be a place that you can comfortably enjoy. If a neighbour has a shed with large windows, it may feel there is not much privacy in the garden.
The easiest way to increase privacy is to use the maximum size fence panels possible around the garden. Most locations can use 2-metre high fence panels from the ground without the need for planning permission. This should be plenty to block out shed windows. If the windows are still visible above the fence, the shed may be too tall. The Local Planning Authority will be able to provide further information.
Other methods include planting trees and other items in the garden to provide more privacy from neighbours.
Can you be made to take a shed down?
The local council can order a garden shed to be taken down if it does not comply with planning permission regulations. Before installing a new garden building, be sure to check it complies with all elements of Permitted Development regulations
If the outbuilding does not meet all of the requirements, planning permission will need to be applied for and received before any work is carried out.
How is planning permission applied for?
If a garden building does not fall within the scope of Permitted Development, planning permission will need to be obtained first before any work can be carried out. An application must be submitted to the Local Planning Authority to begin the process.
The LPA can be contacted for advice first to understand any local planning requirements and the application can then be submitted online. Any supporting documents will need to be uploaded and appropriate fees paid. The waiting period then begins while the application is consulted on and considered by a planning officer.
Guide: Building a brick garden shed
When sheds fall within the scope of Permitted Development, they can be built without the need for planning permission. For this, certain height restrictions apply including the building being no taller than 2.5 metres if positioned within two metres of a boundary. Further away from the boundary, a shed can be up to 4 metres tall with a dual pitched roof.
If a neighbour’s shed appears too tall, the Local Planning Authority can provide advice and information. They may ask for photographs of the outbuilding or come out to take a look themselves.