The question of whether you need to obtain planning permission for external buildings like greenhouses crops up rather a lot at the moment with so many of us becoming passionate about outside living areas and gardens. The general rule, based on government guidelines, is that you are unlikely to require planning permission for your proposed greenhouse provided that it meets the following criteria.
1. The greenhouse is intended for your personal domestic use and is not to be rented out or used for business purposes.
2. The area covered by the completed greenhouse and any other outbuildings does not exceed fifty per cent of the property’s total area.
3. No part of the greenhouse is in front of the side of the house which faces a road.
4. The greenhouse is no more than four metres in height.
5. The eaves height of the greenhouse is no more than 2.5 metres if the finished building is sited within two metres of the boundary of the property.
6. No part of the greenhouse is situated within three metres of the boundary with the road at the rear of the property.
7. The greenhouse, in addition to its horticultural purposes, is not intended to house pigeons.
These principles are based on official guidelines, but you should also check with your local planning authority, which is usually your county council. For Surrey, for example, you would consult: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/
A further point worth highlighting is that if you are proposing to use a prefabricated or flat-pack greenhouse, the retailer will typically offer structures which are compliant with the maximum height specifications contained in the planning laws and regulations.
The rules around planning permission for greenhouses vary when your property in located within so-called “Designated Land” such as a World Heritage Site, National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. For example, the total area of outbuildings is restricted to 10 metres squared if they are within 20 metres of any wall surrounding the main building. You are also prohibited from erecting a greenhouse between the side or principal elevation of the residence and its boundary.
To find out if you live on Designated Land:
– Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – see https://www.visitengland.com/
– World Heritage Sites – see http://whc.unesco.org/en/
– National Parks – see http://www.nationalparks.gov.
Similarly, local authorities have occasionally reserved land for particular purposes, and you will potentially need their permission to build a greenhouse in this area. It’s worth checking that this is not the case in order to be sure that you are complying with the relevant regulations.
If your home is a listed building, you will need to apply for Listed Building Consent as outlined by Historic England at: https://historicengland.org.