Permitted Development


Before we start, here is a massive disclaimer.  We have written this article as a guide only. We are not planning consultants and we are not responsible for whether or not you are allowed to build in your garden and the information below is we hope a useful starting point. You MUST get an official okay from your council to be sure.

Not everyone knows that you are able to build a log cabin in your garden without too much restriction, up to a point. There are a few basic rules to adhere to when looking at building a log cabin in your garden.


Q. Why is not possible to use outbuildings to create new independent dwellings without gaining some form of local council consent first?

Well, to do so would be to establish separate building plots needing planning permission. However, this does not prevent the use of existing outbuildings for additional space, provided it is used in a close association with - and not independently of - the main house. We would always advise getting written consent from the planning authority before embarking upon a project such as this however, as there may be local rules and regulations that you need to be aware of first. For our article on garden annex planning permission click here.

The advice on this page is an outline of permitted regulations.  It is important that you notify your planning authority of your intentions and we would not advise you undertake the erection on an annex without getting written consent from the council firstly, as there may be local rules or restrictions that apply, that you need to comply with first.

So, what are the guides for permitted development?

  • Firstly the building must not be more than half the size of your garden curtilage i.e. the size of the plot of land you are going to site it.
  • Secondly, it must be more than 5 metres from your main residence.
  • Thirdly, it must be more than one metre from your boundary line. Although more recent legislation allows it to be right up to your boundary line as long as it is not more than two and a half meters in height.
  • Fourthly, it must be use as an extension of your family activities, i.e. gym, music room.
  • Finally it must not be used for commercial gain.

Permitted development use as a granny annexe.

(Note from editor, If you're looking for a granny annex, please see our new section on granny annexes). There are few grey areas here.


It is always best to consult your local planning office to clarify this issue as many individual authorities have a different view of this.


In some cases the local planning office will look favourably on a granny annex even with both a bathroom and kitchen where there is seen to be a need to support and look after elderly relatives in their final years, it takes a burden away from the local council and saves them money. You can in such circumstances have a condition of building the granny annex that states that after the elderly relatives have past on that you will decommission the kitchen and bring the building back to permitted development status.

Permitted development exceptions:

There are few exceptions to all of the above.

If you live in a conservation area then any building that is over ten cubic meters in size will need approval. Ten cubic meters is effectively any building more than two metres by two meters by two metres. So basically any building at all.

PRemitted development for use as a family room?
Similarly if you live in an area designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty then the same thing usually applies.

If the building will be situated in your garden whereby it is within five meters of a public highway and has cause to obstruct the line of vision then you will need to consult the highways authority and planning department.

In all cases these are general rules which in the vast majority of cases hold true but it is always worth checking with the local department or speaking to an independent planning consultant if you are not sure.

Last update: 05.08.2016
Posted on January 22, 2017


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