Do you need planning permission to knock down an outbuilding?

Demolition: Do you need planning permission to knock down an outbuilding?

You may need to demolish an outbuilding such as a shed or garage prior to building an annexe.  However, a common misconception is that you do not need planning permission to knock down an outbuilding.  Keep reading to avoid falling foul of this common planning pitfall…


demolition outbuildings planning permission


Demolition and Permitted Development

The Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) 2015 for England states that “Any building operation consisting of the demolition of a building” is Permitted Development (PD). However, there are some exceptions to this where the proposed demolition of outbuildings does not automatically qualify as PD. These are:


  • Conservation Areas
  • Listed Buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments
  • Pubs or other drinking establishments
  • Unsafe/uninhabitable buildings
  • Outdoor statues, memorials, and monuments
  • Prior Approval


Regardless of whether your site comes under any of the above designations before any outbuildings are demolished, an application for Prior Approval should first be submitted to the relevant Local Planning Authority (LPA). This is not a planning application but is an application so the LPA can determine if the site benefits from PD and if planning permission is therefore required for the outbuilding to be demolished.

If the LPA decide that planning permission is required, then a separate planning application must be submitted to the LPA for approval to demolish the outbuilding. If the LPA decide permission is not needed, then the demolition can go ahead.

However, a prior approval application is not always required to demolish an outbuilding.

When prior approval is not required

The Planning Practice Guidance states that Prior Approval for demolition is not needed when the outbuilding to be demolished has a volume of less than 50 cubic metres, as this does not amount to development. Therefore, the outbuilding can be demolished with no applications needed to the LPA.

Still confused?

How NAPC can help with your proposed demolition

At NAPC, our team of experienced planners regularly deal with proposed outbuilding demolition and can provide advice if you want to demolish an existing outbuilding, such as a shed or garage. It is always worth seeking advice on what may be required by your LPA before you demolish any buildings.  Our planners will be more than happy to help you with your proposal. Contact us now via phone on 01285 283200 or by email.

Further reading

For more information on this subject on click here

A recent NAPC project that required demolition to make way for a new granny annexe can be found in our Case Studies section.


Get an answer quicker with a Feasibility Study

A one-off Feasibility Study (from £99) will equip you with crucial planning insight about the area you’re planning to site your Annexe or Garden Room. So if you pursue your application, you have the best chance of success. 

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