Do you need planning permission for your garden decking?

garden decking and seating area

Spring is the single most popular time of year for Britons to get cracking on their own decking projects, so you might already be sizing up your own outdoor space for your timber decking or composite decking. Before you get started though, it’s worth taking a second to talk about planning permission.

Now, some people talk about planning permission and Building Regulations interchangeably, so the first thing for us to do here is establish that these are two different things. Planning permissions are there to guide how towns, cities and countrysides develop, and concern themselves with appearances, and the impact on the local environment and surrounding properties. Building Regulations, on the other hand, set standards for a specific structure in terms of its safety, reliability, and accessibility.

Planning permissions and Building Regulations are managed by completely separate authorities, and we’ll be focusing solely on the former in this post, and covering Building Regulations in a separate article.

Do I need planning permission for my decking?

Probably not. Most decking projects are categories as what’s called ‘permitted development’, which means that they don’t need specific planning permission in order to go ahead. The relevant legislation governing this was written into law all the way back in 2008, and it ensures that homeowners aren’t required to get planning permission for any decking projects or raised platforms in their garden space.

However, in order for that to be applicable, it’s got to meet certain conditions, including:

  • The decking must be no more than 30cm (1ft) off the ground
  • Together with the extensions, including outbuildings, the decking or platforms can cover no more than 50% of the total garden area.
  • The decking must not affect the ability of neighbours to enjoy their own gardens, or risk any intrusion to their privacy – for example, by being high enough to see over their fences

In all likelihood though, the vast majority of DIY decking enthusiasts won’t have to concern themselves about this sort of thing. If you’re planning on building a simple patio-style, ground-level decking that’s no bigger than 30cm, there’s nothing to really worry about.

Are there any instances when I do need planning permission?

Now, one of the earliest indications that you might need planning permission would be the possibility of intruding onto your neighbours’ gardens, as we’ve touched on above. But there are a couple more stipulations it’s worth being aware of.

You’ll need planning permission if:

  • Your decking is within 20 metres of a highway
  • Your decking would be attached to any listed building, or situated within a national park or conservation area
  • Your decking would be constructed in any areas where there’s an active planning condition, Article 4 Direction, or other legislative restriction.

While all of these are relatively unlikely to affect most homeowners, it’s still worth getting yourself up to speed on the full list, just in case. You can find out the full terms on the government’s official planning portal.


Should I tell my neighbours?

Talking to your neighbours about your plans is never a bad idea, even if you think that planning permission isn’t required. Most planning permission disputes start when one person objects to their neighbour’s project, which can often mark the start of bitter, drawn-out processes, and could end up with you having to take the whole thing down again. It’s far better to get the lay of the land with them first, so at least you’ve got plenty of warning about any thorny issues that might arise regarding consent.

What’s more, if planning permission authorities do object to your decking on their own terms (rather than being prompted by any of your neighbours), most homeowners have far better chances of winning their case with the approval of their neighbours, so it’s a smart thing to do in any case.

If you think you need planning permission for your decking, you’ll need to submit a planning application online with your local authority. You can do this very easily on the Applications section of the UK planning portal.

Or, if you’re already set to get your materials for your decking project, you’re in exactly the right place. Here at Savoy Timber we have a huge range of timber decking products available, making us your one-stop shop for decking.

If you fancy browsing our products for yourself, feel free to pay a visit to our DIY stores in Blackpool, Preston or Wigan. We’re dedicated to helping you to shop safely during the ongoing Covid-19 situation, so don’t forget to check our latest Covid-19 service update before you visit!