Backland Development & Tandem Planning

The development of land set back behind existing properties

Backland Development & Tandem Planning

Backland development (often referred to as tandem development) refers to the development of land set back behind existing properties (often existing houses). It generally refers to the utilisation of brownfield or garden land, often landlocked or with limited street frontage.

While many developments, including outbuildings and annexes, may comply with local planning policy. Creating a self-contained use or a separate planning unit on garden/backland development as a tandem arrangement is often contrary to local planning policy. This distinction often becomes less clear where land already has existing buildings or dedicated access, particularly if existing buildings are suitable for conversion and have a lawful commercial use.

As specialist planning consultants we have considerable experience and expertise in a wide range of backland development or tandem projects in garden land or brownfield plots.



The issues with backland development

While some local authorities, particularly in cities including London may have pro-active policies to allow such tandem development; many authorities do not.

The main concerns are often access, garden size, overdevelopment, intensification, noise and impact on neighbouring properties, with applications potentially generating objections from neighbours. Our experience of backland development and tandem sites can guide you through this complex area of planning.

Developing on backland plots can have advantages. Such developments can release land for housing, specifically for self-build, where otherwise these may have to be considered outside of a settlement boundary.


So Can I Really Build In My Back Garden?

Permitted Development Rights cover types of development on land which may not be visible from the front of the property or roadways. There has been a boom in the building of wooden garden offices. These are known as Class E buildings. Note: You cannot build these in your front garden without planning permission.

Garden buildings do not require planning permission if:

  • The garden building is single storey and has eaves under 2.5 metres
  • The height of the structure is no more than 4 metres for a dual-pitched roof
  • The height of the garden building is  under 3 metres for other types of roof
  • The overall height is under 2.5 metres if the building is within 2 metres of the boundary, or border of your home
  • The proposed building takes up less than 50 per cent of all land outside the house. This will include other buildings which are currently in the garden
  • There is no balcony, or raised platform as part of the building
  • If the structure is a container then its volume is under 3,500 litres

Where the property is listed, planning permission will be required regardless.


Use Of A Garden Building


If you are simply using your garden building as extra living space or as an office then you will not generally need planning permission. You will need permission if:

  • You will use the building as sleeping accommodation
  • The building will have an impact on your neighbour’s privacy. (Think treehouses!)

Disclaimer: This page provides an introduction only and is not a definitive statement of the law and should therefore not be relied upon. The information above relates to England only. Policies across the rest of the UK may differ. Contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and confirmation before any works are carried out. All images used are for illustrative purposes only. Read the full disclaimer here.

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