Do I need Planning Permission for Log Cabins and Garden Offices? And why is the 2.5m rule important?

Under new regulations that came into effect on 1 October 2008 outbuildings are considered to be permitted development, not needing planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:

  • No outbuilding forward of the principal elevation fronting a highway.
  • Outbuildings and garages to be single storey with maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and 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, (Note from Dunster House: We interpret1 this rule as not including what we call “Verandas” or “Deck Verandas” as the platform is less than 300mm from the ground and this seems entirely acceptable when reading about the what is allowed for decking. If in doubt check with your local planning office.) 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 house to be limited to 10 square metres.
  • On designated land* buildings, enclosures, containers and pools at the side 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 1 July 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.

1This is our interpretation of the rules and is merely our opinion, we cannot be held responsible for incorrect interpretation.

Planning Permission – why is the 2.5m rule important...

Planning permission can be a complicated mine field – it was not made any easier when the UK government added another set of rules in October 2008. Word for word, the rule that has most affected log cabins is thus:

1) E.1 d) (ii) Development is not permitted by Class E if the height of the building, enclosure or container would exceed 2.5 metres in the case of a building enclosure or container within 2 metres of the boundary of the curtilage of the dwelling house,

In plain English, if the cabin, shed, greenhouse etc. is over 2.5m high and within 2m of a fence, hedge, wall etc., you are not allowed to erect it without planning permission.

There is another rule, which reads like this:

2) E.1 e) Development is not permitted by Class E if the height of the eaves of the building would exceed 2.5m metres

We are advertising “Our Log Cabins are under 2.5m high!!!*” because of Rule 1. Some of our competitors, because of the fact that a lot of them cannot supply buildings under 2.5m as they are not the manufacturers, say that we mean the second of these rules and that their buildings are therefore the same. You should be careful you are not misled over these planning permission rules – in a small garden, you simply will not be allowed to build a cabin over 2.5m high and even in a large garden, you will be severely restricted as to where one could be erected. We MUST understand these rules and understand just HOW important they are. Imagine most peoples’ gardens – imagine having to leave 2m space all the way around… this would mean that a 4m x 4m cabin would need 8m x 8m clear space all the way around – you would need 4 times as much space as before to place a cabin! *Except Vanguard, Trent, Deore, Parniva and Varsovia.

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