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By Kieran Bain on 03 Nov 2021

Can I get a Shed or Summerhouse in a Conservation Area?

Did you know that there are over 600 conservation areas in Scotland?

That’s a lot of Conservation Areas, and a hell of a lot of people wondering if they can get a Shed or Summerhouse for their beautiful garden. If you’re reading this, then it’s likely that you are one of those people. 

You’re needing a garden building. You need someplace to store some garden tools, do some potting, anything!🛠️ 🪴

But there’s one issue…

You live in a conservation area, you’ve done a quick Google and everything seems to suggest that you’ll need a planning permission application before you install your building.

However, the council doesn’t exactly make it easy to get an answer around whether it’s necessary or not.

So your question now is: “can you get a Shed or Summerhouse and avoid planning in a conservation area?” 

Of course, it depends on a few factors including size, and a few key planning rules to follow.

Let’s get stuck in and see what the craic is 🙂 

What is a Conservation Area?

The Scottish Government describes Conservation Areas as “areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance”.

Okay, fair enough. These are places of great beauty and/or significance, but let’s put our debating hats on. Surely if anything, due to the sheer beauty of the gardens in many conservation areas, people are going to want to maintain such beauty. 

But wait: how do you maintain a lovely garden without tools? 

We say without tools because tools need storage, and this is the shed’s archetypal purpose! Conservation area sheddies don’t live in a toolless world, council!

Sadly we have no control over the council rules. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t research the rules to see what options there are for our Sheddies.

Now, a good portion of our Sheddies are from either Dundee, Angus, or Perth & Kinross. So, we’ll tackle those in detail and provide direct links to councils in other areas of Scotland for you.

Perth and Kinross
Dundee and Angus
Other – Glasgow, Lothian, Aberdeen

Please note: Not every single area within these councils are conservation areas. But there are certain sections in these cities that are classed as conservation areas. You will find these specifically on your local council website.

Perth and Kinross

Let’s head to the Perth and Kinross Planning Permission Checklist: CLICK HERE

“Is your house in a “Conservation Area” and, if so, will the proposed building have a footprint of more than 8 square metres?” (Page 1)

So, hang on, let’s get this straight. You’re telling me that PKC Sheddies can get a Shed or Summerhouse as long as it is less than 8m2?


Under 8 square metres is the key point here. If you have a listed building then the size restriction will be 4m2 or less.

It’s easy to dismiss getting a shed or summerhouse when you see that you are in a conservation area and think there’s no way. But there is hope after all.

What does 8m2 actually mean?

Well, it means that you can get a small/medium Shed OR a Summerhouse. That’s right, a 10’ x 8’ (for example) Summerhouse is only 7.2m2 . If you’re interested in seeing what a 10’ x 8’ actually looks like, look no further. 

inside Kindrogan

So Perth people, you are in for a winner here! Fancy hosting some poker for the evening in your garden? No worries whatsoever.

It’s important to keep in mind here: there are other planning rules to be met. So yes, you can get up to a 10’ x 8’ sized shed or summerhouse as long as it meets the other rules.

Read our Buyer’s Prep Guide for further planning rules.

Not every council area is as lenient as PKC. Let’s merge onto the A90 and go to Dundee next. 

Dundee & Angus

Dundee Council

Ok, I’m on Dundee Council website and I’m finding it really (really) difficult to get any information on exact measurements.

However, we can draw some conclusions from what is said on the website:

 “minor works such as, window and door replacement, external painting and stone cleaning, erection of fences, gates and porches, require Planning Permission”. 

If you need permission to clean the stones, I can’t envisage you persuading them that a Shed is okay.

Additionally, they have said in their Householder Development Guide that “new outbuildings in the gardens of listed buildings, of properties in conservation areas and of flats are likely to require planning permission”.

What is frustrating is that exact figures just aren’t being provided. It’s just “likely”.

Keeping full control over the situation 🙄 Unlike, PKC – fully accessible and clear for you.

Angus Council

On that note, I’m also really struggling with the information on the Angus Council website, however this statement:

“You need planning permission for almost all external additions or alterations to any building in a conservation area”

It suggests that you really cannot do anything without requiring planning.

This strictness isn’t an anomaly, however. 

Places like Ayr for example, are bound to 4m2 in area footprint before requiring planning permission. Unfortunately, this rules out almost all Summerhouse options. 

However, this does still allow the possibility of a small shed. For example, a 7′ x 5′ Shed (2.1m x 1.5m) is 3.15m2. Bingo. No planning necessary. 7′ x 6′? 3.78m2. Go for it.

You will need to contact the council to gain clarity on what’s possible for you with the likelihood of only getting a smaller building without planning.

Other – Glasgow, Lothian, Aberdeen

If you’re interested in seeing what’s possible in other areas of Scotland, please find some further options below that are more useful for your location.

Glasgow: Do I Need Planning Permission

Lothian: Sheds, garages, greenhouses and other outbuildings [spoiler: it’s 4m2]

Aberdeen: When planning permission is required

So, do you need planning permission in a conservation area?

So, I think we can say for sure that it’s not all doom and gloom in terms of conservation areas for some people. Some council areas are far more lenient than others.

And remember, all is not lost – you can probably install any building as long as you’ve got planning permission.

If this is necessary, Gillies and Mackay do offer a Planning service in which we will do the full application for you to make sure your very own G&M gets accepted: Does a Shed Need Planning Permission? Video

Remember to follow other planning rules in our Buyer’s Prep Guide too.

There’s hope sheddies, there is hope!

Disclaimer: Gillies and Mackay do not take responsibility for planning rejections or objections. This is for educational purposes and guidance only. Should you wish to purchase a Gillies and Mackay building we will guide you as part of your ordering process 🙂 

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