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  • Writer's pictureNFC Homes

How to obtain planning permission for garden land

If you’ve got a reasonable amount of garden land surrounding your property, the temptation to apply for planning permission may arise from time to time. While planning permission could potentially increase the value of your property, it’s worth weighing up whether the potential positives outweigh the all-too-real risks.

While you may be asking yourself “is it worth gaining planning permission on my land?”, bear in mind that the process isn't an easy one. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming, there are no guarantees that you’ll be granted planning permission, and above all, you will bear all the financial risk.

In this article, we’ll explore how to obtain planning permission for garden land, the potential obstacles you might face during the process, and whether it’s ultimately a worthwhile endeavour.

Gaining planning permission on my land

If you’re looking to obtain planning permission for a garden, then it’s likely that the plot is going to be close to at least one other property. Most council planning teams prefer that garden developments are in character with the surroundings, both in terms of design and development patterns.

To obtain planning permission, you will need to demonstrate that any neighbouring properties will not be blighted by the loss of privacy, outlook or light. You’ll also need to show that there is safe access to the area and adequate parking which won’t cause a nuisance to any existing neighbours.

In addition to this, you’ll also have to consider any ecological factors. Planning permission won’t be granted if your proposal is likely to cause harm to any significant trees or other natural features, and you’ll have to prove that you’ll be able to dispose of any surface water resulting from construction.

Local politics

As any developer can attest, local politics can play a huge role in determining whether planning permission is granted. Each local authority has its own planning department, and each one has its own rules and general outlook. In some areas, susceptibility can change over time as different council members replace previous ones; in other areas, applying for planning permission can feel a bit like a game of pot-luck.

The main questions most local planning authorities will take into account when scrutinising a planning application are things like:

Is there enough space?

When it comes to gardens, a key issue is whether there is enough space for an additional property. A lot of garden planning applications are refused because the plans look too cramped.

While careful design can circumvent these sorts of refusals, it often means having to reapply one or more times before the local planning authority is satisfied - and this can be both time-consuming and costly.

Will the proposed development affect privacy?

It is a generally accepted condition that a new property should not imposingly overlook the windows and gardens of a neighbouring property. Many councils have minimum separation distances in place, with figures of up to 22 metres being given as the smallest back-to-back distance for properties.

In most gardens, care, consideration and a reasonable level of design flair should be used to avoid creating any privacy issues. This ultimately means having to hire a talented architect or consultant with robust knowledge and experience of local planning laws, which will add significantly to the overall cost of your application.

Will drainage be affected?

As part of the planning process, the local council will consider how a new build will affect drainage on the plot. In many cases, this involves having to link up with the public sewer system, which will mean consulting with the company responsible for water treatment in the area.

Are there any protected species in the area?

Certain species of newts, bats, reptiles or even trees can cause development issues. If you anticipate that your garden may be home to one or more of these, you might have to arrange for an ecological survey to be undertaken - of which you’ll be expected to bear the costs.

Does anybody have any objections?

If your neighbours object to your application for planning permission, your local council are duly obliged to discuss their concerns. It’s a harsh fact of life, but sometimes, something as simple as not getting on with your next-door neighbours can lead to planning permission being denied.


If you are satisfied that your application can fulfil each of these criteria, you might not have too much of a problem obtaining planning permission. However, if you’re aware of any issues, you should be prepared for a time-consuming, often arduous and potentially costly battle for approval.

In certain circumstances, it can be easier to sell land to a developer without going through the rigmarole of the planning application process.

If you would like to arrange a land valuation or to find out more about how you could sell land to a developer, contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote.


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