Do I Need Planning Permission


Do I Need Planning Permission for a Garden Room or Office?

Garden rooms are a beautiful and versatile addition that can add utility and value to your property. A garden room can meet a broad range of needs from home business premises, office space and Airbnb to home gyms, playrooms, bars, art studios and more (see here for all sorts of options). Whatever you need extra space for, a garden room is the answer. There’s no doubt a garden room is a wise investment, but can you get around the headache of applying for planning permission?

The short answer is yes! But there is a bit more to it than that. You can’t build any garden room you want on any type of property. You will need to ensure that you stay within the rules for permitted development.

Permitted development rights grant you the right to carry out certain works on your property without the need to apply for planning permission. If you’re looking to carry out home improvements, it’s worth getting to grips with these rules as working within them will save you time, money and hassle.

Garden rooms & permitted development rights – The key factors

Modern garden rooms don’t usually require planning permission because they fall under class E of the permitted development rules. In relation to garden rooms, these are the key factors for staying within the rules:

  • Your garden room must be no more than 2.5m in height, measured from the bottom of the building to the top of the roof (if it is within 2m of the boundary)

  • Your garden must not be used for living or sleeping accommodation

  • Your garden room, along with any other buildings, must not take up more than half of your garden area

So, if you want to build a larger than average garden room, you will need to go down the planning route.

You will also need to go down the planning route if you want to use your garden room as an extra bedroom or guest living space, including Airbnb.

Most standard sized garden rooms, for purposes other than living or sleeping, will be allowed under permitted development and you will not need a planning application.


There are some important exceptions under permitted development rules that you need to be aware of. These are not exclusive to garden rooms but include other alterations and extensions also. If your property might fall under any of the following exemptions, you should not assume permitted development rights and seek further guidance:

  • Properties in National Parks

  • Properties in the Broads

  • Properties in areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

  • Properties in World Heritage Sites

  • Properties in conservation areas

  • Listed buildings

  • Flats or maisonettes

  • Converted houses

  • Houses created as a change of use via permitted development rights

  • Buildings other than houses

If you are thinking of getting a garden room and are not sure whether the building you want will require planning permission, it is advisable to read the government’s technical guidance on permitted development rights which can be found here. This contains detailed guidance on all the rules and exceptions.

Search here for your ideal room!

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