An annexe is a self-contained living space that is typically built on the same property as a family home. It’s designed to provide independent accommodation for a family member, such as a grandparent or ageing parent, son or daughter, etc, whilst still allowing them to be close to their loved ones.
Annexes are often smaller, detached, one-story dwellings that include essential living areas such as a bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchenette. They can be specifically designed to meet the needs of elderly individuals, taking into consideration accessibility and safety features like grab bars, wheelchair ramps, and wider doorways.
These annexes offer several advantages, including allowing older family members to maintain their independence while still being near their relatives for support and companionship. They can provide a sense of privacy and autonomy while offering easy access to family members when needed.
The simple answer is yes. As soon as you introduce sleeping accommodation into an outbuilding it is no longer regarded as “incidental” (benefitting from permitted development rights) but rather “ancillary.”
An annexe is considered to be an outbuilding, specifically designed to provide accommodation that is classified as ‘ancillary’ to a main dwelling house. ‘Ancillary’ in planning terms, means that the building is subordinate to the main house, but still provides some but not all of the following ‘primary living accommodation’; a bedroom(s), kitchen, bathroom and/or a living room.
To be considered ancillary and not a separate planning unit, it should generally embody the following characteristics:
There are two main routes for achieving an annexe within your garden. This can be done by submitting a householder planning application for an annexe or by using the Caravan Act and applying for a certificate of lawfulness.
Planning permission for granny annexes is applied for through your Local Planning Authority and ideally needs to be obtained before you start your project as there may be conditions attached to your permission or it may be declined.
In most cases, the Householder Application route to apply for permission is the most straightforward and robust method.
Mobile homes can be a good alternative to an annexe where it could prove difficult to obtain planning permission. This is because a mobile home, as long as it complies with the statutory definition (Caravan Act) for a mobile home, does not require formal planning permission.
The Caravan Sites Act 1968 was introduced to protect the rights of caravan site occupants – which isn’t relevant to most homeowners, but Section 29 of the Act clearly defines what constitutes a caravan or mobile home.
There are three clear tests that a structure needs to meet in order to be considered a mobile home or caravan, that is the size test, mobility test and construction test.
There is lots of poor advice and misinformation surrounding the Caravan Act, therefore some Local Planning Authorities may try to object to your building, especially if complaints have been received. Therefore, we always recommend that a certificate of lawfulness is obtained to ensure that what is proposed meets the definition of a mobile home and is therefore lawful.
At Custom Garden Rooms, we offer a dual approach (if desired) with a view to getting approval for your Annexe. In tandem, we can apply for both householder planning Permission, and also a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) under the Caravan Act.
Using a dual approach ultimately gives you two chances of success and the applications can work alongside each other to ensure we reach your desired outcome.
When you choose Custom Garden Rooms, our planning permission service is automatically included. We use specialist planning consultancy NAPC to handle all of our planning applications for us.
NAPC has a wealth of experience in submitting planning application for annexes, mobile homes and garden rooms, having worked with over 250 Local Planning Authorities and a success rate of 93% you will be in good hands.
Permitted development (PD) allows householders to improve and extend without full planning permission. However, there are limitations on the height, size, type, and location of structures built under PD, and also limitations on the use.
Class E of permitted development allows development within the ‘curtilage’ of a house, providing these comply with certain design limits and the use is for purposes ‘incidental’ to the enjoyment of the house. So, this could mean anything from garden store to a gym, swimming pool enclosure, art studio, cinema, hobby room or even somewhere to keep animals.
Custom Garden Rooms use NAPC a planning consultancy specialising in annexes, mobile homes and garden rooms. NAP will review all local planning policies and guidance as well as case law and appeal precedents that will support your project.
The whole application will be presented to the local planning authority in a thorough, clear, professional, and effective manner to make it easy for the LPA to understand the positive benefits of the proposal and how it complies with planning policy.
Your case will be regularly monitored and assessed at various stages and in the unlikely event of any challenges, NAPC will negotiate with the LPA to give the application the best chance of success.
Planning applications on average take 10 weeks from submission to obtaining a decision, however, this can vary from council to council.
A popular question that is often asked is: Can I erect a garden room in my rear garden without planning permission?
In summary, if the garden room is deemed to be ‘incidental’ in planning terms, it may be erected under Class E Permitted Development Rights. This means it will not be necessary to obtain planning permission, however, must meet the rules relating to outbuildings.
If the outbuilding is considered to be a separate dwelling, you will need to apply for planning permission through the formal submission of an application submitted to the relevant local planning authority. Class E of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended), provides permitted development rights within the curtilage of a house for:
a) Any building or enclosure, swimming or other pool required for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling/house as such, or the maintenance, improvement or other alteration of such a building or enclosure; or
b) A container used for domestic heating purposes for the storage of oil or liquid petroleum gas.
Development is not permitted by Class E if:
In the case of any land within the curtilage of the dwelling/house which is within:
Development is not permitted by Class E if the total area of ground covered by buildings, enclosures, pools and containers situated more than 20 metres from any wall of the dwelling/house would exceed 10 square metres.
In the case of any land within the curtilage of the dwelling/house which is article 2(3) land, which includes;
Development is not permitted by Class E if any part of the building, enclosure, pool or container would be situated on land between a wall forming a side elevation of the dwelling/house and the boundary of the curtilage of the dwelling/house.
You will also need to ensure that your property benefits from permitted development rights, sometimes these can be removed on new build estates, by a previous planning application on site or an article 4 assigned by the local planning authority, Custom Gardens Rooms can advise on this for you.