Monday, 4 March 2013

Chalets and Log Cabins on your land...


In many instances (subject to size and design) planning permission is NOT required to build a garden office, chalet, log cabin etc. if the garden building is for a domestic or leisure purpose. This may include Crafts, Hobbies, Summer Houses, Swimming Pool Covers, Saunas - Spa Pools, Gymnasiums, Pets, Playrooms, Personal study, Storage, Garages.

It is likely that planning permission will be required to build any other type of garden building or if you intend to use it for commercial purposes.

If in doubt contact your local planning office for advice. They will probably ask the following questions:-
  • What is the chalet/log cabin/garden room going to be used for?
  • Where is the chalet/log cabin/garden office going to be located?
  • Is your site a registered AONB (Area of Outstanding natural Beauty)?
  • Is your property a listed building?
  • How big is the chalet/log cabin/garden office?
  • How is the building constructed and what does it look like?

There are many suppliers of log cabins and other timber buildings who claim that because the building is made of wood and is less that 30 sq. meters, planning permission is not required. THIS IS NOT TRUE!

You should ensure that you have obtained the correct information regarding planning permission before installing your log cabin/ chalet / sauna / garden office. Your local planning office will have leaflets and booklets to advise you and they are free of charge.
Do I need Planning Permission for Log Cabins and Garden Offices?


You are exempt from needing planning permission for your log cabin if you can satisfy the following criteria:-

  • It is to be sited in the garden of a detached or semi-detached property.
  • The property is not in an area of conservation or outstanding natural beauty or similar category.
  • The property is not a listed building.
  • The cabin will not be between the house and a highway (or if it is there shall be a 20m distance from the highway).
  • The cabin will not be above 4m in height.
  • Total area covered by buildings will not exceed half of the garden.
  • The cabin is not to be used commercially (home office is usually acceptable if it does not detract from the main use of the property).
  • The cabin is not to be used as a dwelling.
  • There are no other covenants that prevent you from exercising your permitted developments rights.

Garden structures may include swimming pools, animal shelters, tennis courts and so on. The size of the garden structure does not appear to be relevant to planning exemption but it does have an influence on whether or not building regulations approval is necessary and/or the cabins position relative to boundaries.

The permitted development rules shown apply to houses. Flats, maisonettes or other buildings are not included. You should also check with your Local Planning Authority if permitted development rights apply as they may have been removed.

Permitted development rights may also have been restricted if your house is listed or in a designated area. Again check with your Local Planning Authority in these circumstances.


Under current regulations outbuildings are considered to be permitted development, not needing planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions. Rules governing outbuildings apply to sheds, greenhouses and garages as well as other ancillary garden buildings such as swimming pools, ponds, sauna cabins, kennels, enclosures (including tennis courts) and many other kinds of structure for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house.

  • 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, 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.


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