How to Get Planning Permission for a Garden Plot

When it comes to self-build projects, we often dream big and think outside the box. However, the answer sometimes lies just on our back-door step. If you are lucky enough to have a large garden, you might consider using this space as your plot! Of course, we don’t all have sprawling lawns under our ownership. But it’s important to remember that there are garden plots everywhere around the UK and they can make excellent bases for your self-build project.

So, what is the deal with garden plots and building upon them?

Generally speaking, it’s much easier to get planning permission in built-up areas such as cities, towns and villages. You will find the details of this specifically in your council’s Local Plan – often referred to as an LP. In said LP, there are policies which usually allow new developments and construction as long as they follow specific criteria. When it comes to rural areas (including settlement edges and hamlets), LP policies can be stricter and not fond of new construction projects. However, gardens in and around smaller settlements can be approved for self-build if there is no five-year housing land supply owned by the council.

To be really clear on this, it’s worth checking out your council’s LP and policies to see what their position is.

What should you consider when applying for planning permission on a garden plot?

First things first, you need to remember that you will be pretty close to another house if you are building on someone else’s garden plot. The council are also likely to request that any new developments are in fitting with the existing property – focusing on design and development style. It is also worth considering that one-storey homes such as bungalows may work better on garden plots. Now, let’s get down to business. Here are the key points that you should be working towards when planning your garden plot self-build project:

Available space

Perhaps the most obvious factor but one that certainly shouldn’t be taken for granted. How much space is available for the new property? Does the garden plot offer adequate space without creating too much of a cramped environment? The council will take space very seriously. However, if your new building is well designed and well thought-out, space doesn’t have to be a barrier.

Town politics

In small towns and especially villages, the local politics can be quite an issue when it comes to influencing councils. Get friends and neighbours on your side from the start. You never know who is friends with council members and how local relationships can affect the outcome of your planning permission.

Entrance and parking

Will you have appropriate access to the property once it has been built? Take into consideration the impact of building a new drive and entrance route on the garden plot. Make sure you aren’t obstructing the existing property or any neighbours’ access and that the new entrance route is safe and easily accessible for all.

Block outlook and sunlight

You may think this is an obvious one but it can often be overlooked when dealing with the stresses of planning permission. Councils greatly frown upon any new development that might block the outlook or sunlit areas of an existing home. Of course, sunlight won’t be as much of an issue if your new property will be built to the north of the existing one. However, bear this in mind when drawing up your self-build plans.

Local area and style

As we briefly touched upon, it is highly recommended to keep your new designs within the parameters of any local styles there might be. You don’t have to build a carbon copy of the surrounding homes, but take their design and materials into consideration. Remember that style is subjective and you don’t want to upset the council or officer you are dealing with.

Tree removal and protected species

It’s important to remember that your garden plot development might have a negative impact on the surrounding ecology and nature. Will any trees need to be cut down to accommodate your self-build? Make sure you get a survey carried out to truly understand any significant trees and how your build will affect them. By the same token, if there are any protected species living in and around the garden plot, you should ensure an ecological survey is carried out. This will greatly help your planning application.

Sewage system

Whilst it’s not the most enticing subject, you really must consider the drainage system for the new property. Whatever solution you come up with, you should definitely include all options on your planning application show that you’ve really thought it through. This may mean opting for a private sewer system.

Neighbour privacy

With any new house, councils can be very strict about the distance between new properties. This is especially true if your new walls will contain windows that clash with the neighbour’s windows. Take the privacy of your neighbour into strong consideration when planning your self-build. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to such issues.

Looking to build on a garden plot?

If you are considering a self-build project on a garden plot or elsewhere, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We can offer free, impartial advice on the best route to go down when it comes to your exciting new self-build journey!