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Do You Need Planning Permission for a Temporary Structure?

Do you need planning permission for a temporary structure? The answer depends on the size of the structure and how long it will be in place for. It’s important to understand the rules to avoid potential problems down the line.

In this article, we’ll be sharing information on getting planning permission for a temporary structure. We’ll also look at the classification of a temporary structure and buildings that don’t require planning permission. Plus, you can expect to learn how long planning permission takes, if required.

Do you need planning permission for a temporary structure?

You do need planning permission for a temporary structure if the building is more than 100 metre squared. Additionally, you need planning permission if you’ll leave it in place for more than 28 days. Permission isn’t required if you’re erecting a temporary structure that doesn’t fall into either or both of those categories.

Planning permission for temporary structures are also required when:

  • The structure will take up more than 25% of the available land
  • If the structure is a warehouse or factory extension, and will increase the size of the building by over 25%
  • The structure will come within five metres of your site’s boundary
  • The amount of land available for parking and vehicle use reduced by a significant amount

It is always a good idea to contact your local council before work begins on any temporary structure. The rules are not always clean cut. If in any doubt, ask for advice. Starting the planning permission process early can save time overall.

What is classed as a temporary structure?

A structure not designed to be in place on a permanent basis is seen as being temporary. This could be a complete building or something as simple as a shed, or an art installation piece. People use these types of structures for a wide variety of reasons, such as:

  • Accommodation
  • Portable cabins
  • Storage
  • Events
  • Shelter or provisions for workers
  • Industrial purposes

Does a building need planning permission if it’s portable?

A portable structure such as a tent or a portable toilet block will require planning permission if they will be in use for more than 28 days. You will need planning permission if the portable building is over 100 metre squared in size. The fact that a structure is moveable doesn’t mean they are exempt from the rules.

Portable cabins designed for easy maneuvrability can be the perfect temporary structure solution. Ensure the size and the length of time required don’t fall into the boundaries stated above to avoid planning permission.

How long can a temporary structure be in place?

Temporary structures can be exempt from planning permission and some sections of the building regulations. A temporary structure is classed by the building regulations as a structure that won’t be in place for more than 28 days in a single calendar year.

In some cases, this length of time reduces to just 14 days. The 14-day use limit is for the following:

  • Markets
  • Speed trials
  • Car and motorbike racing purposes

How long does planning permission take?

Planning permission can take between eight and 12 weeks. You can apply for the permission as soon as you would like. Sometimes, a temporary structure might be needed sooner than this timeframe allows for. In these cases, you can apply for retrospective planning permission instead. For retrospective planning permission applications, you must be able to prove why the building was urgently required.

Retrospective planning permission refusal does happen. In this situation, you may be required to remove the structure and return the land to its original state. Failure to comply with the request made by the council may result in enforcement action. It is possible to appeal against refusal if you’re not successful when requesting permission.

Key points to remember

Consider the amount of space and length of time required when thinking of temporary structure usage.

Planning permission is necessary if:

  1. The structure is larger than 100 metre squared
  2. The structure will be in use for more than 28 days in a calendar year or 14 days in certain situations
  3. The amount of land taken up by the structure is more than 25% of the land available
  4. The size of the building is increased by 25%
  5. Parking space and land used by vehicles is reduced significantly

Your temporary structure

Temporary structures are available in many different forms. They do not have to be built on foundations or made from bricks and mortar. You can use cabins, sheds, and even tents temporarily. Many do fall into the class as a temporary structure and, therefore, will not require planning permission. Always contact your local council if you have any doubt or require further information. You can find further help and information on the GOV.UK website.

Do you need planning permission for a temporary structure you have in mind? If you are looking for sleeper cabins or facility units in the UK, contact the team today. We will tell you all you need to know to get up and running.


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