5 Myths Busted About Granny Annexe And Planning

With Google searches creating even more confusion than ever before about granny annexes and planning, here are our top 5 most frequently misunderstood things about granny annexes and planning.


Myth #1: Granny Annexes Do Not Require Planning Permission

You have probably seen an advert, read an article somewhere or seen a headline on a website saying “Granny Annexes No Planning Required!”

Annexes are typically built as mobile homes and can therefore be built with either Planning Permission or by obtaining a Certificate of Lawfulness.

You will ALWAYS need relevant permission from your Local Planning Authority to put an annexe in your garden because an annexe is considered an ancillary building, not an incidental building.

If you are not sure which is which or why it’s important for planning purposes check out our recent article about ancillary buildings.

If a member of your family is going to live in the annexe, you will need permission from your Local Planning Authority (LPA).

If you build an annexe without either a Certificate of Lawfulness or Planning Permission you run the risk of being forced to take it down again.

Contrary to what you might read on Google or on a website selling Summer houses and sheds, granny annexes are not permitted development.

Trying to build a granny annexe in your garden in the hope you will not be found out is a high-risk undertaking that we would not recommend.

If you have any doubts whatsoever, speak to one of our annexe specialists and we’ll be glad to help.


Myth #2: You Can Put An Annexe In A Paddock Or Field Near Where You Live

Annexes must always be sited within the curtilage of your garden.

If you have a field or paddock (not defined as your garden) it is very unlikely your LPA will approve your annexe application unless you move it to within the curtilage of your garden.

Your Local Planning Authority may also request that the annexe be sited as near to the main house as possible as one of the conditions they can insist on as part of the planning decision process.

With a Certificate of Lawfulness, there may be more leeway in the position of your new annexe, although for budget purposes it makes sense to keep your mains service connections as simple and short as possible.

You will also need to leave at least 50% of your existing garden as a garden and be wary of existing extensions and outbuildings in your overall calculations of available plot size.

Annexes must always be subordinate to the main house and can never be sold off separately.

They are an annexe of the main house.

Myth #3: An Annexe Is A Separate Dwelling In The Garden

Your Local Planning Authority may have a written policy in place with regards to what they determine to be an annexe.

In ALL cases (without exception) an annexe MUST be considered ancillary to the main house by your LPA. For example:-

  • No separate postcode.
  • Shared services to the main house.
  • Used by a family member.
  • Can never sold separately.
  • Limited or restricted in size and facilities (in some cases).
  • There must be a need for the annexe

Annexe planning is a very specialised area and should not be attempted by the homeowner. It’s always best to seek out planning consultants that have relevant granny annexe planning experience if you decide to go it alone.

Always seek professional advice before approaching your Local Planning Authority and telling them what you intend to do. More often than not they will tell you it isn’t possible when clearly it is when you speak to the right team of professionals and go about it in the right way.


Myth #4: Annexes Are Just Like A Bungalow Or Cottage In The Garden

"Granny annexe"

Good, high-quality granny annexes look like bungalows in the back garden, don’t they?

Pictured above is a traditional granny annexe we recently built in St Albans.

Our customers refer to it as their cottage in the garden.

With a tiled pitched roof and solid structure, it looks like a real little home at the bottom of the garden.

In fact, the only main differences are the type of foundations we use, and the exterior cladding which in this case is a cement-based weatherboard, which will look good for many years to come.

Annexes are classed and built as mobile homes and are therefore zero rated for vat purposes (saving you thousands of pounds by the way).

With annexes classed as mobile homes they are considered temporary buildings by your LPA. It’s best to try to downplay the idea that you are building a self-build style Grand Designs inspired bungalow in the garden as it is highly unlikely to get planning permission granted as an annexe.

If you want planning success when it comes to building an annexe in your garden, talk to us first and we’ll guide you on the very best way to go about it.


Myth #5: I Can Design An Annexe To My Exact Specification

Most of our customers watch Grand Designs on a regular basis and it’s easy to see how designing and building an annexe from scratch can feel a lot like Grand Designs on a smaller scale – because in many ways it is!

Our custom annexe ranges come complete with the widest choice of interior and exterior choices available.

However, in our experience, most Local Planning Authorities will question the following when considering an annexe planning application:-

  • The overall size (is it too big?)
  • How many bedrooms? (do you need 2?)
  • Level of facilities (kitchens & utility areas in particular)
  • Is it ancillary to the main house?
  • Position of the annexe in proximity to the main house.
  • Who is going to be living in the annexe now and in the future.
  • Whether there is a need for an annexe as opposed to an extension to the main house.

If facilities and number of bedrooms are important factors to you and your annexe you may want to opt for a lodge-style annexe, built to BS3632 and a Certificate of Lawfulness instead.

Here’s why we think custom annexe and garden lodges are the best solutions for most people thinking about an annexe for a family member. Start Here.


We Offer Free Onsite Consultations To Help You Plan & Design Your Dream Annexe

We’re available to discuss all aspects of your project:

  • Planning Permission
  • Floor plans
  • Mains Services & Connections
  • Sizes
  • Styles Available
  • Budgets & Costings

All you have to do is CONTACT US.

If you want a friendly chat about your project over a cup of tea, try us out!

With planning permission taking around 10-12 from start to finish, it pays to speak to one of annexe specialists now if you are thinking about your project being built in 6-12 months time.

You’ve got nothing to lose & everything to gain.

We look forward to being of service to you.

Until then, all the best!

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