Gardeners could be slapped with £20,000 fine for common garden improvements

Phil Spencer talks to design expert about planning permission

During the warmer months, Britons often want to make improvements to their gardens so they can enjoy them for years to come.

Whether it’s laying a new patio, putting up a fence or planting, there are plenty of ways gardeners can give their outdoor spaces a facelift.

However, many gardeners don’t realise there are certain rules and regulations that need to be followed when making these simple changes.

To help gardeners and homeowners avoid “hefty fines”, the home insurance team at Compare the Market has shared some of the lesser-known garden improvements that could lead to a massive fine if planning permission isn’t secured.

Homeowners and gardeners could be fined up to £20,000 for certain improvements if they don’t secure planning permission.

READ MORE: Five garden laws to avoid breaking this summer to prevent hefty fine

If planning permission has not been sought before making changes that require it, the council will usually allow them to submit a retrospective application which means they can request planning permission after the work has been completed.

However, under Section 172 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, in some cases, the council can issue an enforcement notice requiring homeowners to reverse the changes they’ve made and put the garden back to the state it was originally in.

The penalty for not complying with this can be an unlimited fine and while many may think planning permission is only needed for extensive improvements like extensions, there are actually several lesser-known garden projects that require planning permission.

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Putting up decking that’s 30cm above ground

If a new deck is going to be more than 30cm above the ground, homeowners need to get planning permission.

Gardeners also need to get planning permission if the decking covers more than 50 percent of the garden.

Gate ornaments

If a gate is more than two metres high, gardeners need to get permission to add any additional ornaments to it.

Homeowners living next to highways used by vehicles will need to be even more cautious as gates can only be less than one metre high.

Paving a front garden

This may seem like a simple renovation project but homeowners need to get planning permission if they are laying a traditional, impermeable driveway, such as concrete or tarmac, that is larger than five square metres and doesn’t provide anywhere for water to drain away naturally.

Anna McEntee, from the home insurance team at Compare the Market added: “Before you start any kind of work on your home, no matter how small, you should check whether you need planning permission or building regulations approval.

“You can find more information on Government websites, and you can also contact your local planning authority.”

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