Erecting a new fence or making changes to an existing one can seem like a simple task at first glance. However, there are specific regulations and criteria to be aware of. One of the most common questions homeowners face is: “Do you need planning permission for erecting or altering fences and boundaries?” This article will help you understand the essentials.
Height Considerations: The Taller, The Tricker
In general terms, per The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended), if you plan to erect a new fence, gate, or wall fronting a highway adjacent your property and it’s over 1 metre high, or elsewhere on your property and it’s over 2 metres high, then you would need to apply for planning permission.
Historic and Listed Buildings
For properties categorised as listed buildings, under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, any modification or addition to fences, walls, or gates will require planning permission. Listed Building Consent is also likely to be required this is because such alterations can impact the historical significance of the structure, even if it’s not directly attached. Take a look at our Practical Guide to Listed Buildings.
Navigating Conservation Areas
For homes located in conservation areas or in the curtilage of a listed building, taking down an existing fence, gate, or wall might require planning permission. Before removing or making alterations, it is vital to check with your local council, as there maybe restrictions in place which mean planning permission might be mandatory.
If your fence or boundary is near a public road, it’s essential to ensure it doesn’t endanger road users by obstructing sightlines or the free passage of pedestrians. As outlined in the Highways Act 1980, if the local authority feels your fence is a hazard, they may ask for its removal.
Solving Boundary Disputes
Before erecting or altering any boundary, ensure you’re clear about the property boundaries. While this isn’t a planning permission issue, disputes between neighbours over boundary locations can be complicated and unpleasant. Always check your property’s deeds or consult with the Land Registry.
If you’re thinking of adding a trellis to an existing fence, the combined height (fence plus trellis) should not exceed the aforementioned height restrictions. If it does, you’d be venturing into planning permission territory.
Routine Maintenance and Upgrades
Regular maintenance or like-for-like replacements usually do not require planning permission. However, significant changes or upgrades will need a revaluation against the criteria mentioned above.
While the regulations might seem intricate, they exist to maintain a harmonious visual environment and ensure safety, especially near roads. So do you need planning permission for erecting or altering fences and boundaries? If in doubt, it’s always advisable to consult with your local planning authority before making any changes. Being informed and proactive can save you time, potential legal headaches, and costs in the long run.
For simple proposals you’re unlikely to need a Town Planning Consultant, however if this all seems confusing CONTACT US to see if we can help guide you through the process.
Our Permitted Development & Use Class eBook helps you understand the type of work that typically requires planning permission and which processes you’ll likely have to go through.
We have lots more information for you in our series of eBooks and Practical Guides which cover everything from the very basics of town planning to application processes and what developers need to consider.