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Breaking the rules, decking and outbuildings/sheds on slopes.

WaysideWayside Posts: 807
edited May 2020 in Garden design
People are so full of wind, it's hard to get straight answers when it comes to planning.

I've got a slope, and am a little confused about heights for things like decking and sheds.

I think there is a maximum 2.5m height for me.


7. Outbuildings must be single storey with a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and maximum overall height of 4 metres with a dual pitched roof, or 3 metres in any other case.

8. If the outbuilding is within 2 metres of the property boundary the whole building should not exceed 2.5 metres in height

So our shed would always be within in 2metres of a boundary, which means I've a max 2.5 height.  But I'm on a slope.

I've seen it mention that:

Height’ - references to height (for example, the heights of the eaves on a house extension) is the height measured from ground level. Ground level is the surface of the ground immediately adjacent to the building in question. Where ground level is not uniform (e.g. if the ground is sloping), then the ground level is the highest part of the surface of the ground next to the building.


But it does mention house extension there not necessarily outbuilding.

If that is true, with our steep fall in the garden, we could have a shed that's 2.5 metres tall at the back and about 3.5 or more at the front!

I'm not sure if decking falls under a similar rule, I've read that it should be no higher than 0.3m from the ground.  But what of the front?

For example I've a neighbour, who's got decking more than 2metres off the ground at the front with no planning liason.  Rules are there to be broken though aren'tt they - right kids?

I'm asking for myself.  The one last question I have is that I was thinking of putting a chest freezer in the shed.  And I've been told that changes the use, and therefore doesn't fall under permitted development.

I see phrases such as 'incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling'. Typically wishy washy phrasing, refer to your LPA for advice etc etc.

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  • BenCottoBenCotto RutlandPosts: 4,044
    edited May 2020
    I think you’re fretting unnecessarily. I have only limited knowledge of planning regulations but experience round here says planners are not overly concerned about modest outbuildings allowed under permitted development. 

    Three points occur to me:

    1. What kind of shed are you envisaging that would need to be so tall? Would it be located in a place likely to irk neighbours who would kick up a fuss with the planning department?
    2. Why does the neighbour’s decking bother you? Does the 2 metre platform constitute a danger? Anyway it’s their necks at risk if they fall off. Is the decking intrusive and overlooking your garden?
    3. If keeping a freezer in an outbuilding is a planning issue the authorities will have millions of cases to investigate before they get round to you. Just be sure you buy a freezer suitable for putting in an outbuilding. Most are not. Beko are.

    When we wanted to put up our summerhouse I checked the regulations and thought all was OK but there were a couple of areas of doubt. Wanting them clarified I approached the planning department and they charged a substantial amount, something like £150, for an advisory consultation. Sod that. I spoke to the neighbour, spoke to the summerhouse company, and went ahead and did it. I am not worried that planners’ drones will be flying overhead.
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,853
    Someone in my borough built this without permission https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/family-told-to-tear-down-appalling-high-rise-deck-plkp8856v  it didn't go down well...

    The heights are always taken at the maximum point so your 3.5m level would be what they look at. So basically if you think a neighbour will report you then it's best just to apply for permission. Everyone and their mum chucks up illegal sheds around here with no problems though. As long as it doesn't upset anyone or take the p**s like the link above then Planning turn a blind eye to it.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • WaysideWayside Posts: 807
    edited October 2020

    2.  The neighbours decking is far enough away perhaps to not bother me.  But it is a breach.  For their immediate neighbours, their decking is at least one story high and overlooks their gardens.  From their decking they can see straight into my bedroom - not that I'm suggesting they care for that.  Their deking is more of an imposition than the example given above.  They are not the only ones with decking over 30cm tall.  Many have decking that is at least 2m high due to the slopes of the garden.  I guess for some it's a simple way to introduce flat levels to the slope.

    1. As our shed will be within 2m of the boundary.  The 2.5m restriction does become a slight pain.  I'd like to lift it by a foot or two off the ground for floor level and then add the 2.5m from shed floor to the apex.  We are very considerate, and probably over think and worry about our neighbours.  The road and terrace slopes, so the gardens all fall, as such a normal sized shed on one side can feel much taller, as there is at least a 1/2m fall between gardens.  Buildings and tall fencing can feel larger as a result.

    Since writing this post, I've noted another neighbour with a shed with a terrace on the top about 1m away from the buildings.  So I very much doubt I'll be a bother.

    But it's broken window theory isn't.  One does it, and then every one else thinks: if I can't beat them I'll join them.  My immediate neighbour is already talking about erecting a high structure.

    And of course the councils are hardly going to act this year (due to the plague).

    Regarding drones they are used now, and will probably be used more and more to spot planning irregularities.

    Most people have nothing to loose, and just don't bother reading the regs, and it's no wonder because they are ultimately difficult to navigate and hard to understand.


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,002
    I have a neighbour who has various 'assorted buildings' in his garden @Wayside, including the most recent one where he's appropriated the strip of pavement as well, changing it from a carport to some sort of log cabin workshop. The pavement doesn't go anywhere [hard to explain] as it's a rear access road, and that's where it tapers off and ends as it comes round from the road. 
    I can't see that it's legal, because of the pavement,  although I expect it's within the heights etc, but I looked at the planning regs and, as you say, it's a minefield.  :/
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • WaysideWayside Posts: 807
    @Fairygirl if you weren't in central Scotland, I could swear you were just down the road. :)
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,002
     :D 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • WaysideWayside Posts: 807
    @Fairygirl my partner says on Mumsnet, there is a whole section for cheeky 'flutter' neighbours.  Seems people always push limits given any opportunity.  I've seen loads of it localised here.  Even those in rentals appropriating their neighbours garden.  And most of these people are nice normal people.  They just can't seem to help themselves.  It absolutely repulses me.

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,002
    This bloke doesn't speak to me at all now. It struck me a while ago as to the reason.
    A few years ago, he built yet another shed - for chickens. They aren't allowed here, and a short while after he got them, they disappeared. I think he reckons I dobbed him in.
    Someone else must have done it though, but it took me ages to realise that was the likely reason. He had a disagreement with my ex husband one day when he had parked thoughtlessly [just for a change] and my ex suggested it was inconsiderate. I thought that had been the reason, but it must have been the chickens. He's one of those men with 'small man' syndrome  :D
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Pauline 7Pauline 7 West Yorkshire Posts: 2,144
    And of course the councils are hardly going to act this year (due to the plague).


    I reported a house I pass on my way to work for raising the height of their front fence. It was obscuring the view of the road where I had to turn right. This was in August this year.....It has had a site visit and told he had to lower it to the permitted level, ( 1 metre ) before the 1st of November. This has been done.

    They are looking into complaints during this pandemic.
  • SuesynSuesyn South Somerset Posts: 614
    It is my understanding that it is also against building regulations to remove the wall between the house and a conservatory. I believe that it is because of the amount of heat lost through a large expanse of glass. However it seems to be quite common practice and I would expect it to have been carried out by building "professionals". 
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