Do You Need Planning Permission for Temporary Buildings or Structures?

Do You Need Planning Permission for Temporary Buildings or Structures?

If the situation arises that means you’re in need of a temporary building or structure, whether that be short-term for an unforeseen emergency or for longer-term use, you may be wondering where you stand with respect to planning permission. It’s an understatement to say this can be daunting at the very least.

If you’ve experienced applying for planning permission before, in any scenario, then you may be reluctant to do it again but here at Fews Temporary Buildings we can provide you with everything you need to know about the need for planning permission and hopefully, you’ll feel a lot clearer about the process after reading this article.

When Do You HAVE to Apply for Planning Permission?

So, when do you actually have to apply for planning permission when it comes to a temporary structure? Well, if you follow a simple rule of “if your structure is going to be required for more than 28 days, you are likely to need planning permission” you won’t be too far out.

It is rare that temporary buildings or structures are needed for under 4 weeks, however our structures have been used for Christmas overflow stock, as filming studios, temporary car showrooms and to support a warehouse move, so there may be scenarios in which the temporary structure is only required for a couple of weeks, in which case planning permission may not be required but any longer than 28 days, you will highly likely need it.

There are specific cases in the government guidelines that mean planning permission WILL be required:

  • If the temporary building or structure will be in use for longer than 28 days
  • If the temporary building or structure is closer than 5m from your site boundaries
  • If the floor space is greater than 200m2
  • If the building’s volume is more than 25% of the existing building
  • If the building is more than 25% of the area available on your site
  • If assembled structure reduces the space you have for vehicles parking or manoeuvring
  • If the structure materially affects the external appearance of the overall building

When Do You NOT HAVE to Apply for Planning Permission?

Although there are more scenarios in which you DO have to apply for planning permission than don’t, there are a couple of situations in which you are highly unlikely to need planning permission and they are:

  • If the building or structure is required for under 28 days and is under 5m high
  • If the building or structure has a footprint of under 200m2

In these two cases, planning permission is rarely needed, and in our experience these are usually temporary buildings, marquees or other structures being hired for uses such as festivals or pop up broadcasting suites for TV.

’From the 16th April 2021 to the 1st January 2022 Central Government have created an allowance for temporary moveable structures within the grounds of a pub, a drinking establishment with expanded food provision, a restaurant, a cafe, or a historic visitor attraction. The allowance is aimed at assisting these forms of business to re-open whilst still providing adequate social distancing until lock down restrictions are fully removed.

The allowance does not specify any size requirements, however, it cannot be used within the grounds of a scheduled monument or if the structure is for the display of an advertisement’


How Long Does It Take to Get Planning Permission Approved?

We have helped many clients with their planning permission applications for the temporary buildings we have designed and there are rarely any issues with planning permission being accepted for temporary buildings or structures.

Although there is usually no dispute regarding planning permission, it can still take up to 8-weeks to get feedback from the council and therefore if you are planning ahead and know you’re going to need a temporary structure for long term use in the future, do be sure to take this time frame into mind.

Most cases do need planning permission though, and it can take between 8-12 weeks to get a response.  We would always advise that planning permission is sought as early the process as possible to avoid delays, and we have partner companies who specialise in this area and will smooth out the entire process.

What if my requirement is urgent? Can retrospective permission be obtained?

In some situations, waiting for planning approval is unrealistic or even impossible (e.g. destruction by fire, or other catastrophic damage where temporary replacement is necessary).  There is provision for such eventualities, but it can be a risky path to take.  You must be able to prove that the temporary building was required, and it was in fact an emergency.

The risk in this case is where planning permission is not granted.  The local authority is within its rights to demand the complete removal of offending structures, followed up by enforcement notices if not complied with, making such action very expensive and futile.

In such cases, specialist advice is always recommended.

How Do I Apply for Planning Permission for a Temporary Structure?

Once you have established that you will need to apply for planning permission, you will need to apply in the same way you would for any new building and that is via an online application form.

Planning permission for any project is to be submitted to the council via a platform called Planning Portal – this is the only place you can submit official planning permission applications to the council.

You will need to submit your application alongside site plans for the location where the building will be pitched and plans for the construction too. Here at Fews Temporary Buildings we work alongside our clients as they apply for planning permission and for every structure we design, we provide technical drawings and static plans which will be required throughout this process.

Where a client feels the process needs support, our partners at Fisher German LLP will complete and submit the application on your behalf ensuring the best possible outcome.

So, hopefully you know feel clearer about of applying for planning permission for a temporary building or structure, whether it be for long term use or an emergency situation.

We are always happy to assist with your planning permission applications and are on hand to provide you with any advice you require throughout the process.

Here’s a helpful guide to whether you need planning permission – call us if you need help on 01527 821789

planning permission guide

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