Do I need planning permission for garden decking?

As a rule of thumb, you should not need planning permission for adding decking (or other raised platforms) to your garden. However, this rule is not a guaranteed carte blanche for any and all works you may have in mind. There are some conditions to be met in order to avoid planning requirements for decking and other raised garden platforms. It is always best to be sure and to review your project against the guidance from the planning authority.

To start with, the rule above only applies to houses. Therefore, if you have a flat with a garden or outdoor space, or a maisonette or other building with outdoor space, and you want to introduce decking into that outdoor area, you may need to obtain planning permission before doing so, as the planning rules are different for these types of properties. It is always best to check with your local planning authority before you start any work on your outside space, if you live in a flat or maisonette, just to be sure you are carrying out a permitted development.

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You may also need planning permission for decking, even if you live in a house, if any of the below apply to your property:

  1. You may need to obtain prior planning permission if any part of your decking is going to be more than 30 centimetres (0.33 metres) above the ground level. In addition, any railings or banisters that you are seeking to add to your decking, must not be more than 2 metres from ground level.
  2. As with property extensions, the planning authorities apply a percentage area restriction on decking and outside space adaptations. Therefore, you may also need planning permission if the decking, together with other extensions or outbuildings in the outside area, will cover 50 per cent or more of the total area of the garden. Drawing up plans with measurements is likely to help you work out whether this will be the case.
  3. Planning permission may also be required if the decking is going to be in front of the principal elevation of the house, or the side elevation of the house, and that elevation is road facing. In light of the above restrictions, if you are planning on a very extensive, variable level decking display, perhaps with railings, it is, again, always worth checking with your planning authority, to ensure your decking project is permissible without planning permission.
  4. In addition, if you live in a conservation area, it is definitely worth checking with your planning authority before you start your decking project, as there are some prohibitions on building decking situated between walls forming the principal or side elevation of the building, and the property boundary.

Further, if your property is Grade Listed, please check with the planning authorities before you start you project. You may need Listed Buildings Consent – in fact, it is most likely that you will need this, for most decking projects, even if you consider them to be small, or within the above guidelines!

In all cases where you are unsure or uncertain if you will need planning permission, it is always advisable to contact your local planning office for advice, before you start any works or buy any of the materials for the decking or platform project. Be prepared to offer measurements and detail specifics, including plans, to the planning office, if you have them, to ensure you receive a relevant and informed answer. It may also be worth speaking to your neighbours before you start any project, to make sure they are happy with what you have in mind and hopefully, to ensure they come to you with questions or concerns, rather than them raising any objections, directly with the planning authority.

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