Do I Need Planning Permission For An Outbuilding On My Property?

Do I Need Planning Permission For An Outbuilding On My Property?

The family dynamic is changing. With more and more 50-somethings caring for an elderly parent or relative, and more and more children staying at home for a lot longer thanks to seemingly ever-increasing house prices, the potential for three to four generations living in the same household is becoming the norm.


But with limited room, and a need for each family member to live as independently as possible, often the only solution is to build. Areas like Halton and Cheshire are seeing a growing trend of annexe buildings making an appearance alongside properties throughout the region.

However, with this increase in building also comes a rise in disputes relating to planning permission. It is often assumed by homeowners that planning permission is dependent on the size of the structure or outbuilding, so many do not pursue the correct channels for gaining planning permission, and this is where things start to go wrong.

As outlined in the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO), seeking planning permission hangs on the intended use of the annexe, rather than its dimensions. The GPDO makes a distinction between ancillary use, where planning permission is needed, and incidental purposes, where permitted development can commence and planning permission is not needed.

Do I have an ancillary building?

An annexe or outbuilding that is considered to be an accessory apartment or an extension of the primary dwelling. An ancillary building serves a function similar to that provided by a house, for example, eating, drinking, showering etc. This would include buildings that are commonly referred to as ‘granny flats’, and would therefore require planning permission.

Is my outbuilding for incidental use?

An outdoor structure that could not be used as a standalone dwelling. Incidental outbuildings often have a singular purpose that is directly related to a hobby or pastime. Incidental buildings can feature ancillary use, for example, a shower or a small bar, however the presence of these items alone would not facilitate sufficient requirements for living accommodation.  Examples of incidental buildings can include storage units, art studios, gyms, play rooms, sheds, greenhouses, and sun houses.

If you’re looking to extend your property or add an outbuilding to your home, but are unsure whether you need planning permission to do so, get in touch with Matt from Fairtech for an informal chat. Offering specialist construction consultancy, he can advise and support you with clarifying the need for planning permission and planning application submission.