Planning permission for garden walls

When is planning permission required to construct a garden wall?

Planning permission is required to construct a garden wall if:

  • it is to be constructed next to a highway used by vehicles (including the footpath of any such highway) and it is to be more than 1m in height;
  • it is to be built elsewhere (for example, at the rear or at the side of a garden) and it is to be more than 2m in height;
  • the right to construct a wall has been overridden by an earlier planning condition;
  • the right to construct a wall has been overridden by an ‘Article 4 direction’. This is an order made by a local planning authority in accordance with its powers under the Town and County Planning Acts (specifically the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995), which restricts development rights which would otherwise be permitted. Those rights which would otherwise be permitted are known as ‘permitted development rights’;
  • there is a listed building on the land or if the proposed wall will fall within the curtilage of a listed building;
  • the proposed wall will form a boundary with a neighbouring listing building or its curtilage.

The same rules apply to fences and gates.

If you are unsure whether planning permission is required you should check with your local planning authority; if you carry out unauthorised work, you will be breaking the law and may be required to demolish the wall.

Is planning permission required to increase the height of an existing wall?

Planning permission will be required to increase the height of an existing wall if one or more of the situations set out above apply.

Is planning permission required to remove/improve a wall?

Planning permission is not required to take down an existing wall, fence or gate, or to alter, maintain or improve an existing fence, wall or gate (no matter how high) if you don’t increase its height. However, it may be necessary to obtain consent for the removal of the wall if it is in a conservation area.

How do I apply for planning permission?

An application for planning permission can be made online via the Planning Portal website. Alternatively it can be made by completing and sending a paper application form to your local planning authority.

Is there anything else I should consider before constructing or removing a wall?

Sometimes covenants are placed in title documents (deeds) preventing or restricting the construction of walls or requiring a person to maintain a wall. You should, therefore, check that your deeds do not contain any such provisions before carrying out any work.

It is not necessary to obtain building regulation approval to construct a garden wall. However, it is important to ensure the wall is built and maintained properly to ensure there is no risk that it will damage the property of another or injure a person.

If the wall is a ‘party fence wall’ for the purposes of the Party Walls etc Act 1996, it may be necessary to notify the owner of the neighbouring property of any work proposed before it is carried out.

Article written by...
Nicola Laver LLB
Nicola Laver LLB

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A non-practising solicitor, Nicola is also a fully qualified journalist. For the past 20 years, she has worked as a legal journalist, editor and author.