Do I Need Planning Permission For A Garden Office In St Albans City & District Council?

Garden office planning is usually incredibly straight-forward. In fact, in some instances it’s actually not required at all. If you live in St Albans then you may want to know more about planning permission and how to get it – luckily, this is very easy to do.

What Can You Build without Having Planning Permission?

The two main factors that will determine whether or not you can build in St Albans are the height of the building and how you intend to use it. The maximum height that you can build a garden office without having to apply for planning permission helps to protect the interest of your neighbours: they won’t have to worry about shading or loss of light if the restrictions are in place. With this in mind, the ridge of the office should not be more than 4m tall and the eaves shouldn’t be more than 2.5 metres tall.

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Do I Need Planning Permission For A Garden Office In St Albans City & District Council?

Do I Need Planning Permission For A Garden Office In St Albans City & District Council?

Your Permitted Development Rights

If you intend to run a business in your garden office in St Albans over 5 days a week then you may need to get planning permission. If you work in your office on an occasional basis then you may not require one:

About Incidental Use

Permitted rules allow incidental buildings, which can include summerhouses or even sheds to be put up without any kind of permission at all. However, they do need to meet the right height. A garden office that is used for leisure and occasional work can be seen as being incidental in terms of usage and, therefore, will not need any planning permission at all. A garden office that is used for business-use five days a week may not be seen as being incidental by your local St Albans authority, and they may require a planning application for it.  A good rule of thumb to follow is that a building for incidental use really should contain elements that relate to activities that cannot be done in your home. Summerhouses are typically viewed as being incidental. A garden building will always need planning permission if it is primarily being used as a bedroom or an office for 24/7 business use.

Permitted Developments

There are permitted development rules that you need to follow. In England and Wales, you will notice that the guidelines regarding outbuildings can be very vague, as a lot of the rules fail to mention garden offices or even garden rooms. They do not refer to rooms which contain any kind of domestic plumbing either. Rules that govern outbuildings tend to apply to sheds, garages, greenhouses and other ancillary buildings.

Outbuildings are considered to be permitted development and they do not need planning permission, if they meet the following restrictions:

  • No buildings on land in front of a wall, forming the principal level of elevation for the property
  • Outbuildings have to be single-story with a maximum eave height of 2.5 metres
  • The maximum overall height should be 4 metres with a dual-pitched roof
  • The maximum overall height should be 3 metres for any other type of roof
  • Zero tolerance for raised platforms, verandas or balconies
  • No more than 50% of the ground around the original house should be covered with other buildings

Building a garden office in St Albans is a fantastic way for you to increase the value of your property. However, if you want to ensure that you are able to get the best result out of your build, then it helps to stay informed and stick to the guidelines.

St Albans council recommends that you research the planning history of the property before you undertake any kind of work – this information can easily be found in your deed. These rights will be affected if the property has been extended already, and can also change depending on your location. If you live in an area that is classed as being Article 4 Direction, which includes Fishpool Street, then a lot of your permitted rights will probably have been removed. If you know that your property is relatively new, such as Jersey Farm, Hill/End or Napsbury, then permitted development rights may have been removed by a condition.  If you live in a conservation area or if your house is a listed building then this will come into the equation as well.

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