Do You Need Planning Permission for a Pergola?

Pergolas are an excellent way for homeowners to create comfortable, welcoming outdoor spaces usable year-round in their homes. They are practical, affordable, and give a direct view of the garden and land surrounding it.

What does the planning process look like? Do I need planning permission? Are there any restrictions on how and where I place the pergola? These are the common questions homeowners have, and in this blog post, we’ll answer all of them!

When are planning permissions needed?

There are a few key areas of construction/renovation/extension that require planning permission. Understanding these areas will help you learn whether you need to seek permission from your local planning authority (LPA) or not.

Extensions that change the size and the area of the building

Extensions that protrude beyond a certain length or height (usually two to four metres) require planning permission, especially if the extension is close to another property or faces the road. If the extension is extensive enough to cover more than half the size of the original house, you’ll also need permission.

Listed properties or buildings located in a conservation area

If your property is a listed building or located in a conservation area, it is deemed valuable by the state either due to outstanding natural beauty or historical or cultural significance. This covers everything from a world heritage site to a period neighbourhood protected by the local council.

In these cases, building regulations are far more strict, and in addition to needing planning permission to make minor changes to a listed building or a property in conservation areas, you also need to file additional paperwork like acquiring a Listed Building Consent.

Construction of a new building

If you are building a new property from the ground up, you almost certainly need to get in touch with the local council and seek planning permission. The local authority has a lot of power over “the character” of the neighbourhood in the UK, and they’ll need to make sure your blueprints comply with local regulations before they greenlight it.

Does installing a pergola require planning permission?

Reading through the list above, you’ll quickly notice that simply installing a pergola on your property doesn’t fall into these categories. It is considered within ‘permitted development rights’, and this is why, 9 times out of 10, a pergola project doesn’t need planning permission. You purchase the pergola, install it, and enjoy an excellently shaded and comfortable outdoor space! There are some exceptions, however, where you might need to seek a pergola planning permission:

Height restrictions

Any structure built in your property’s outdoor space has a restriction on its maximum height. This includes pergolas as well. If it is within two metres of the boundary of your property, the pergola height can’t be more than 2 metres. If not, it can be as tall as three metres. Lastly, if it has a pitched roof structure, it can be as high as 4 metres.

Principal elevation

This refers to the farthest point your house protrudes forward. Any extensions beyond this point or the boundary wall will require planning permission, and this applies to pergolas as well.

Existing structure or a raised platform

If you are adding a pergola to raised platforms or an existing structure like a veranda or a balcony, you’ll need planning permission because they generally require changes to the structure of the house.

Contact your Local Planning Authority (LPA)

By simply getting in touch with your LPA and explaining the details of your project, you can quickly get an answer on whether it is permitted development or whether you need planning permission, and if it is the latter, how you can proceed with your local council to complete the paperwork.

Even if your project ends up needing planning permission, it is only a minor inconvenience. It costs between £200 to £700 and takes 6 to 12 weeks to obtain after which you can proceed with the renovations unimpeded. 

Conclusion: Do you need planning permission for a pergola?

The short answer is no. Most pergolas are independent structures that don’t take much space and require minimal construction work, which means they’re included in permitted development rights. There are some edge cases where planning permission is required that you need to be aware of, however.