One of the biggest joys of being a homeowner is that you are free to make whatever changes you wish, whereas if you’re renting, you are restricted to the landlord’s contract and unable to make any personal improvements without their permission.

However, it’s a slightly different story if you’re a homeowner and are looking to change anything external to your home, such as garages, extensions, conservatories and other outbuildings. If you plan to make any additions or amendments to your home, we advise you to check whether you will require planning permission in accordance with the UK law by contacting your Local Planning Authority (LPA).

A common grey area when it comes to planning permission, that some homeowners can be unsure of, is planning permission for garages. Building a new garage is a popular project when it comes to home improvements and in most cases, you won’t need planning permission for one, but there are some where you do. Planning rules for garages also depends on the size and position of the building in relation to the property and any other features around it.

By the end of this blog, your question ‘Do I need planning permission for a garage?’ will be answered in addition to some further information about garage conversions too. 

Permitted Development Rights

Getting planning permission for your dream project is a complex task and can sometimes be a nightmare, but luckily, outbuildings, such as sheds, garages and greenhouses are considered to be permitted developments.

Permitted developments are types of projects that don’t require planning permission and this automatic grant allows certain building works and changes to be carried out without having to make a planning application. 

That being said, these permitted development rights are updated regularly and the rules for them vary in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and can differ across local authorities so it’s important to check your LPA for the latest details.

Garage Planning Permission

If you’re looking to build a brand new garage, we have some good news for you! You don’t need planning permission, but only if the project falls under a set of parameters and outside a few exceptions.

These permitted development allowances apply to houses only and not to flats and maisonettes, converted houses or houses created through the permitted development rights to change of use or listed buildings.

Domestic Purposes

The garage must only be used for domestic purposes. You are not allowed to build a garage for commercial use (to run a business from). You must consult your local planning authority (LPA) if you require a garage for commercial use.

Storage Space 

The garage must not be used as a living space and should be used for storage only. This means that it mustn’t contain beds or any other types of living furniture that would be able to accommodate an inhabitant. Building a garage that’s intended for living in or converting a garage, unfortunately, has different rules and will normally require planning permission, which will be explained further down in this blog.

Floor Measurements

The floor of the garage must be less than 15 square metres if freestanding or less than 30 square metres if attached to the house. In the latter case, it must also be constructed from non-flammable materials and be placed at least one metre from any boundaries, such as a fence or wall on the outside.

Ground Area

The ground area covered by the garage and any other surrounding buildings within the property boundary, not including the original house site, cannot exceed 50% of the total area of the property. 

The term “original house” means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1st 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.

Elevation and Position  

No part of the garage is in front of the principal or side elevation of the original house that faces onto a road.

Height

The maximum height available to build a garage cannot exceed four metres. The reasons for this are structural integrity and not blocking light to a neighbouring property. If the garage is planning on having eaves, they mustn’t be higher than two and a half metres if the building is within two metres of the property boundary. This is for drainage reasons and also the availability of natural light on your neighbours.

Public Roads 

Any part of the garage must be within three and a half metres of the property boundary with a public road to the rear of the house.

Location

If your property is located within a World Heritage Site, an area of outstanding natural beauty or a national park, the maximum area of ground coverage has to be located more than 20 metres from any wall of the property and does not exceed the given 10 square metres. For this, you must receive confirmation from your LPA.

If you are located within a UK conservation area, the garage must also not be located between the side elevation of the house and the property boundary.

If you’re unsure about any of these rules, we advise contacting your LPA.

Do I Need Planning Permission For A Garage Conversion?

A garage conversion can add up to 20% more value to your property and it also increases your living space by adding extra room. Almost half of us use garages to store junk rather than cars and according to RAC Home Insurance, this means that 40% of homeowners can’t even fit their cars in them anymore due to the amount of clutter. 

Attached or detached garage conversions are great ways to make use of this wasted space whilst adding value to your home and most of them can be completed under permitted development rights, especially if the project won’t alter the structure of the building. Therefore, planning permission for a garage conversion isn’t much different to brand new garages. 

Unlike extensions, garage conversions are less about building new space and more about optimising space you already have and so planning policy for these types of projects is slightly different.

It’s unlikely you’ll need planning permission for garage conversions. In fact, about 90% of them don’t, as long as the work you’re carrying out is internal and doesn’t involve enlarging the existing structure. 

However, the other 10% will need garage conversion planning permission and as mentioned previously, this will be the case if you live in a property that’s not covered by permitted development rights, such as:

  • Flats and maisonettes
  • Listed buildings
  • New developments
  • Homes within a conservation area
  • Homes located near a heritage site, national park or somewhere of outstanding beauty
  • You’re converting the space for commercial use

How Can Atkins Home Improvements Help You?

The team at Atkins Home Improvements hopes you have found this blog useful and that it answers your burning question “Do I need planning permission for a garage?”, whether it’s for a new garage or garage conversion. 

We are also the go-to experts when it comes to anything to do with home improvement projects and information about planning permission so if you need any further information or you have any questions and need advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us by calling 01908 597933 or emailing us at info@atkinshomeimprovements.co.uk. We hope to hear from you soon!