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By Amy Hanlon on 14 Sep 2023

Do I need planning permission for a carport?


Not everyone uses their timber garage to store their car, you know. Some people have other plans for their garage but also want a space to shelter their pride and joy.

Enter the carport.

If you’re thinking about adding one of these crackers to your garden you may be wondering: do I need planning permission for a carport?

What is a carport?

A carport is a covered structure without walls. Sometimes carports are attached to other buildings, but they can also be free-standing. A carport is similar to a gazebo but is specifically constructed as a sheltered area for parking a car.

Take a look at this absolute beauty, which combines a gorgeous garage with a cracking carport.

A large Gillies and Mackay apex timber double garage with natural coloured timber, a grey garage door and a timber carport.

Do carports need planning permission?

The rules for planning permission are laid out by the Scottish government. These rules make sure that any buildings or alterations, like a carport, don’t have a negative impact on the surrounding area and community. There is also a set of rules which exist for making alterations to your home without planning permission. We call these rules permitted development rights.

What is permitted development?

These rules allow you to make certain changes to your home without applying for planning permission. To determine whether or not your carport project comes under permitted development, use this checklist:

The Gillies and Mackay Planning Permission Checklist, which asks ten questions to determine whether or not planning permission is needed.

You can use this checklist for sheds, summerhouses, garages, garden rooms AND carports. If you can answer no to all of these questions, then you won’t need planning permission for a carport. Your local planning authority can also help you to check your project.

Do I need planning permission for a carport for my business?

Permitted development rights only apply to your home, known in the rules as a dwelling house. You will likely need planning permission to add a carport to business premises. However, this very much depends on where your carport is, and what type of business you’re running.

For example, if you built a garden room as a home office, but added a carport for parking your car outside, you’d be unlikely to need planning permission. This is because your business use of the building wouldn’t create extra traffic in your neighbourhood or cause significant disruption to your neighbours.

If you built a carport to house your logistics business and had three vans coming and going all day, your neighbours wouldn’t be happy about this. Always think about planning permission rules in terms of the impact your changes will make on the people and environment around you.

Can I build a carport if I’m not the only resident in a building?

Making changes to a building where you’re not the only resident will almost always need planning permission. You can’t possibly put a building or a carport in a shared garden without asking permission. Even if your garden isn’t shared, if you’re changing the surroundings of a building that has other residents, their views have to be taken into account. Living in a tenement block, or in any building where you have upstairs or downstairs neighbours, will mean permitted development doesn’t apply.

Can I build a carport outside my garden?

You need planning permission if you are building anything outside of your own home and its grounds. Any space around your home that isn’t part of the land that your house is in either belongs to your neighbours or is public land that belongs to your local authority.

Can I build a carport at the front of my house?

Unfortunately not. Because of the impact that this would have on the overall environment, anything that is visible from the front of your house will require planning permission.

Can I build a carport within 1m of a boundary?

Get your tape measure out! This is where things get technical.

No structure within 1m of a property boundary can be higher than 2.5m. This is what the rules say. However, this isn’t a very clear description of the rule.

A diagram of a border with a building next to it. A dotted box labelled with a width of 1m and a height of 2.5m shows that no part of the building in the box is over 2.5m, even though the building is over this height.

As you can see in this diagram, you can put up a building that’s over 2.5m within 1m of a boundary. However, no part of the building that’s within the dotted box can be over 2.5m. This same rule applies to carports just as much as it does to any other building in your garden.

Can I build a carport over 4m high?

You can’t, but also, why would you? 4m high is HUGE! Unless you’re looking for a lorryport, you’re extremely unlikely to need a structure this size. For permitted development, keep your carport under 4m.

Can I build a carport with eaves over 3m high?

The eaves are the part of a building where the wall meets the roof. While a carport doesn’t have walls, it still has eaves, where the posts meet the roof. To keep within permitted development rules, your maximum eaves height must be under 3m. As with the last rule, you’re very unlikely to need a carport as high as this – most cars and even minivans are under 2.5m tall

Can I build a carport in a conservation area?

I’m really surprised by how many conservation areas there are in my home city. Maybe it’s the scorn of the native, but I thought that conservation areas would only be places of outstanding natural beauty, world heritage sites, national parks, that sort of thing. But in fact, they’re all over the place.

While national parks are usually pretty obvious, conservation areas may not be. Several listed buildings in the same street or neighbourhood can be the reason for a conservation area. Other reasons are interesting architectural features and historic interest, and since your local planning authority decides what constitutes interesting, you may not even be aware that you live in a conservation area.

A screenshot from Historic Scotland

You can check with your local planning authority to see if your home is in a conservation area. Historic Scotland’s website can tell you if you live in a listed building. You will almost certainly require planning permission to add a carport to your garden if you live in either a listed building or a conservation area.

Can I build a carport that’s more than 50% of my garden?

This is another no-no if you want to avoid planning permissions and build within permitted development rules. Something to note is that the 50% figure includes any other garden buildings you may have. So if you already have a large shed that takes up 30% of your garden, this rule limits the size of any other buildings, including a carport.

Can I build a carport as a permitted development?

If you can answer NO to all of the questions on our checklist, you won’t need planning permission. If you do need planning consent, applying isn’t as complicated as you might think, and the same rules apply whether you’re building a shed or a carport.

Will I be successful in applying for planning permission for a carport?

The rear view of an apex timber garage with a large carport. There is an access door and a double glazed window.

This is the great “it depends,” I’m afraid. If you’re in a conservation area or live in a listed building, you can be refused planning permission, usually because the proposed alteration doesn’t fit in with the surroundings.

You can work around some obstacles, but some rules are set in stone. The good news is that any reputable carport company will advise you about whether or not you’ll need planning permission. They may even provide an application service for an additional charge.

How do I buy a carport?

Here at Gillies & Mackay, we add carports to our sheds and our garages all the time. We even build free-standing carports, but people often like to add a storage option. Since we build everything here in our Big Green Workshop in Errol, custom builds are easy-peasy!

You’re more than welcome to come and see the beautiful carport attached to our equally beautiful garage in our Show Area. Come and have a good look around. Our Sales Team are more than happy to answer your questions and get your carport up and running!

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