Mill Hill Preservation Society
...making change worthwhile


Putting a shed in your garden

Can I put up a shed without planning permission?

First in a series of answers to frequently asked questions.....and for shed read greenhouse, if that’s what you’re interested in! Overall, the answer is “maybe”....

There is nothing more likely to annoy a neighbour than an insensitive piece of development, and your new shed could prove a bone of contention. It’s always best to foster good relations by telling the neighbours what you intend to do, maybe asking their advice: better still not to get on the wrong side of the planning laws.

If your house is in the Conservation Area then if the shed is going have a capacity of more than 10 cubic metres you’ll need to put in an application, as you will in certain other cases such as if it’s going to be used for anything other than domestic purposes, e.g. to store goods or tools for a business, or if it will be more than 3 metres high, or more than 4 metres if it has a ridged roof.

You’ll certainly need to get planning permission if it’s going to be nearer to the highway than the nearest part of the original house - unless there’s at least 20 metres between the new building and any highway (which includes a footpath or bridle way). If the shed is within 5 metres of the house it will probably be classed as an extension, or if would bring any other building (an existing greenhouse, say ) within 5 metres you need to get advice to see what your position is now and in the future.

We know there are attempts in Parliament to give more protection to gardens, but right now you will need planning permission if the new shed means more than half the land around the original house would be built on - and you can’t rely on the shed being either flimsy or a so-called “temporary” building. It’s best then to get advice from Barnet’s professionally qualified and impartial planners.

This is general advice, and if your case is not clear-cut you can research it further at the Reference Library in Hendon or ask the Hendon area team at the London Borough of Barnet planning office. Planning Services are now, not very conveniently, at the main council offices at the North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, N11 1NP, telephone 020 8359 3000, fax 0870 889 6818, and e-mail There’s quite good parking facilities there.

Try if you have access to the internet, this web address will also lead you on to the Government’s Planning Portal, which gives more information still and is reasonably clear in its advice. You can also download planning application forms from the Barnet Council web page. And of course you can get access to the internet at the public library, and help with finding the information, too, if you need it.

John Turtle 2007