Building in your Garden – Backland Development Guide

Abel Hinchliffe

Many people spend a lot of time and money searching for a suitable piece of land to build on. But if you have enough space in your garden, it could be the perfect solution. Read on to learn more about the factors you’ll need to consider when building in your garden...

Check for covenants

The first step you should always take before building in your garden is to check the Land Registry for covenants on your property, as they can even override planning permission. Covenants are provisions that set restrictions or specifications for the usage of a piece of land, usually for the benefit of surrounding land or property.

Restrictive covenants are generally applied to the land, rather than the owner, so will usually still be applicable even after the original owner has moved. If there is a restrictive covenant on your property, seeking advice from a solicitor is the best move. In some cases, you may be able to remove the covenant through the court system.

Planning permission

You’ll also need to be clued up on planning permission, as outcomes will vary depending on the size and usage of the planned building.

You won’t need permission if...

Your development is a Class E building that fits within the guidelines. Class E buildings refer to any building that is built within the curtilage – land surrounding the house – and is ‘incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house’. It should not cover more than 50% of the curtilage, nor should it be constructed at the front of the property.

As Class E buildings are intended for incidental use, this will normally cover sheds, summer houses, garden offices and the like. However, there are some guidelines that buildings will need to adhere to in order to qualify for Class E exemptions...

You will need permission for...

Whether your building is incidental to your main property or not, there are certain types of garden constructions that you will need planning permission for. This includes buildings...

  • With more than one storey, or a single storey with eaves over 2.5 metres high
  • With an overall height of over 4 meters for dual-pitched roofs, or 3 meters for other types of roof
  • With an overall height of over 2.5 meters and positioned within 2 metres of the boundary of the property’s curtilage
  • That take up more than 50% of the curtilage with all other outbuildings. (So, if your summer house already takes up 30%, any new construction would need to be under 20% to avoid requiring planning permission.)
  • With a veranda, balcony or raised platform
  • That will be used for sleeping accommodation
  • That could impact your neighbours’ privacy

You're more likely to receive permission if your property fits in with your council’s Local Plan, so it could be beneficial to check out their planning policies beforehand. There are further restrictions for heritage sites, and developing an outbuilding in the curtilage of a listed building will always require planning permission.

Capital Gains Tax

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) is a tax levied on profits obtained when an asset that has increased in value is sold or ‘disposed of’. If you obtain planning permission for a piece of land in your garden and then sell it off without developing on it, your profits should be exempt from CGT if the land measures under 0.6 hectares. If you move into the new property and sell your old home, you’ll also be exempt from CGT on the sale.

However, you’ll be liable to pay the CGT if you sell the property off immediately or subesquent to renting it out. It's always a good idea to discuss your circumstances with a financial advisor before deciding on a course of action.

Building in your garden – the next steps

Once you’ve sorted out the technicalities, it’s time to think about designing your outbuilding. Whether you’re looking to build an outdoor office or a new-build home for your extended family, CODA Bespoke has over 40 years of combined experience creating outstanding luxury buildings.

If you’d like to know more about our award-winning services, don’t hestitate to reach out to our team. Alternatively, take a look through our projects to get a sense of what we create.

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Abel Hinchliffe

With a wealth of experience Abel heads up CODA Bespoke, specialising in luxury residential developments both large and small. Recently entrusted with the responsibility of also heading up Studio 4 which is currently delivering numerous office to residential developments. Connect with Abel Hinchliffe on LinkedIn >

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