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Do you Need Planning Permission for a Lean to?

At one time, homeowners were cautious about adding to their home because there was the complex process of planning permission to go through.  But since the creation of Permitted Development, there is a lot more you can without needing planning permission. But does this include adding a lean to?

Permitted Development rules

Under Permitted Development, there is a range of changes you can make to the house with the need for planning permission.  However, it doesn’t mean there are no rules – just that they are more relaxed than before.

For example, you can add an extension, porch or lean to without planning permission as long as:

  • It is within the boundaries of the property and won’t cover more than 50% of the total area
  • No part of the extension is higher than the eaves of the house
  • The eaves are no more than three metres high if you are within two metres of the property’s boundary
  • A side extension isn’t more than four metres in height or wider than half the width of the original house

These right also largely apply to a garden shed, greenhouses and other outbuildings, which can sometimes apply to a lean to, depending on where you are erecting it.  If it falls under outbuildings, then no part of the lean to can be forward of the principal or side elevation of the original house where it faces onto a road.

There are some properties that are excluded from these rights, regardless of what the work being done.

These include properties that are Listed, in a National Park, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a World Heritage Site or in the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads.  Here you will always need to apply for planning permission for any work.

There is also a process called Article 4 where local authorities have removed Permitted Development rights.

This is usually to do with conservation areas but if you are in doubt, check with your local planning department.

Building regulations

While there’s a good chance that you don’t need planning permission to add a lean to, you should always be aware of building regulations as these apply to all work.  These refer to the fabric, services and fittings used in the project and while most of them won’t apply to a simple lean-to, it is always worth checking with your local planning department to make sure there is nothing you need to watch for.