A common question we get asked here at Premier Polytunnel is “Do I need planning permission for a polytunnel?” The quick answer is, generally you don’t. However, there are some exceptions to the rules, therefore we have put together this guide to give you as much information as possible about the planning regulations for polytunnels.
Planning Permission for Polytunnels UK
A polytunnel is a great addition to a garden or allotment and a great investment for a keen gardener. With the development of new 5-layer polythene covers it is now possible to grow any plant in a polytunnel. Even in the cold UK weather, fruits and vegetables flourish in polytunnels, with the growing season stretching all year round. Many award winning flowers are also grown this way, with a polytunnel helping to put you in control of nature.
So, it’s good news that generally you do not need planning permission for a domestic size polytunnel for your garden. However, there are sometimes exceptions when it comes to planning regulations, therefore you should always check with your local planning office if you’re unsure.
Do you need planning permission for a polytunnel?
If you are planning on building a polytunnel which meets any of the following criteria, you should contact your local planning authority to clarify if planning permission is required:
- If the polytunnel is more than 3m high.
- If you want to position your polytunnel within 2m of the site boundary and whereby the tunnel would be more than 2.5m high.
- If building the polytunnel would result in more than 50% of the area around your house being covered in buildings that were not part of the original plans.
- If you want to position your polytunnel whereby any part of the tunnel would be part forward of the front of the house.
There may be further restrictions to planning if the site has a listed building or is in a Conservation Area, National Park, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads.
If you want to build a polytunnel for commercial use, if you want to build a larger commercial size polytunnel, or if you want to build more than one structure, please have a word with your local planning department for further advice.
When it comes to building an allotment polytunnel on your plot, it’s worthwhile checking with the allotment committee to find out if there are specific rules about the sizes of tunnels they allow. For example, some of our customers have been limited to an 8ft wide polytunnel due to the individual allotment committee rules.
For more information about the planning rules for outbuildings, including greenhouses and polytunnels, please visit the Planning Portal website.
Polytunnel Planning Permission on Agricultural Land
For farmers wanting to build a Sheep House Polytunnel for use as an agricultural building on a farm, the good news is that planning permission is not required for farming operations. Planning permission is also not required if there are permitted development rights on the farm. However, some planning rules include special conditions for agricultural land and buildings, and you will usually need to apply for planning permission if your plans for the farm meet any of the following criteria:
- If you’re planning on changing how you use the land or buildings from farming to something different.
- If you’re applying for a grant to fund a project that needs a building or other development.
You will also need planning permission if you want to build a house on the land – luckily this doesn’t include a polytunnel house for your sheep!
For more information about the planning rules for farms, please visit the gov.uk website.