What is The Maximum Fence Height Without Planning Permission? Planning Permissions Explained

Building legislation can be a bit of a maze when trying to upgrade your garden and home. We’ve been in the fencing industry for many years now, so we’ve learnt to navigate the legislative landscape pretty darn well.

In this guide, we’ll take you through all the questions you might have on planning permissions if you’re about to erect a new fence.

If by the end we’ve not answered one of your burning questions – please do not hesitate to give us a call or come visit us at our timber yard in Cumbernauld.

Let’s get started!


Who ‘owns’ the fence?


Before you start erecting a new fence or tear down and old wall, best to double-check that you are in fact the owner of the fence.

As a fence usually marks the boundary of your property, and sometimes where the neighbouring one starts, there are no set rules about who owns a fence when in between two properties in close proximity.

If you really need to know, you will usually be able to find this information in the deed to your property – but accessing your deed is sometimes easier said than done.

In the spirit of friendly neighbourship, and to avoid a neighbourly dispute, we often recommend that you just have a chat with your neighbour about it.

More often than not, this type of thing can be solved over a cup of coffee and you can either decide who gets to erect the new fence – or agree on a suitable fencing option and then split the erection and maintenance cost.


When do you require planning permission for your fence?


You’ve decided you need a new fence or to upgrade the old one, so how do you know what you legally can and can’t do?

Here are a few of the regulations to keep in mind with regards to height restrictions:

  • If your fence (typically the front garden fence) fronts a road, a footpath or public highway and is more than 1 metre high – then you need to apply for planning permission.
  • If your fence does not front a road (usually the back garden), then the maximum height without planning permission is 2 metres, including any trellis topper.
  • If you live in a Conservation Area, in a historically listed building, or within the curtilage of a historically listed building, then you need to apply for planning permission for the vast majority of works that you are planning.


When do you not require planning permission for your fence?


If the fence you’re planning is pretty standard stuff, there’s a good chance you won’t need planning permission for your fence.

Check out the general rules below to see if you should be sending out a planning application or if you can just go ahead and erect your new fence:

  • As a rule of thumb – you are legally allowed to remove any old fence, fence post, wall or gate if you own the land. But hold your horses, there are a few exceptions:
    • If you live in a Conservation Area, in a historically listed building, or within the curtilage of a listed building, then the rule of thumb does not apply.
    • Should you be so lucky to live in a home with great historical value, then you need to check with the local authority for the majority of work you carry out within your curtilage.
  • You do not require planning permission if your fence height does not exceed the maximum heights of respectively 1 metre if the fence fronts a road, otherwise 2 metres.


What’s the maximum height for a fence with a trellis topper?


A trellis topper can be a lighter, less dramatic way to add a bit of height to your garden fence. Erecting a high fence can sometimes be perceived negatively, especially if you have close neighbours, but a medium fence with a trellis topper is a handy way to get around that.

Whether just to add a splash of wood or for your green ivy to climb up – a trellis topper is a nice addition to almost any garden.

Here are a few of the legal lowdowns of trellis toppers and maximum heights:

  • The maximum height legislation for fencing is always inclusive of the trellis.
  • In other words, if the maximum height for any boundary fence or garden walls is 2 metres, then the wall and the trellis must be a maximum of 2 metres in total.
  • If your fence including trellis topper does exceed the maximum height, then you need to apply for planning permission.


How and where to apply for planning permission?


If you’re wanting to apply for planning permission for your building project then you need to do this via the planning portal ePlanning.scot – this it the Scottish Planning Permission portal where you can submit applications, track progress, appeal decisions and pay for the whole shebang.

It’s all pretty straight forward and there is even a Fee Calculator that will give you an estimated price of what your planning permission will cost.

You can also still submit a planning permission application in hand if that’s more your style. The paper forms you are going to need for submitting your planning application in hand are available from the ePlanning.scot portal as well.

If you have any questions on how it works, or can’t quite figure out the website, then we recommend you call up your local planning authority.


What could happen if I don’t get planning permission for my new fence?


Should you choose to ignore the rules and go ahead with your fencing there might be some negative consequences.

If your fence/wall/garden gate doesn’t comply with the permitted development and hasn’t obtained the correct planning permission, your local council could issue an enforcement notice for you to take down your fence/ wall/ gate.

The local council can issue enforcement notices up to four years after the date the fence/wall/gate was put up but after that, you’ll likely not hear from them.

To avoid stressful situations that might result in receiving an enforcement notice, or end up in a neighbouring dispute – we recommend that you always carefully look into your development rights and seek the appropriate planning permissions.

To avoid conflict, it’s always a good idea to clear your grand plans with the guys next door if the new fence is what’s separating your gardens.


Planning permission costs


On ePlanning.scot there is a handy fee calculator. This planning permission fee calculator can calculate all sorts of fees whether for an extension, building a new house, installing new garden decking, or erecting a wall or new fence.

We’ve clicked our way through the fee calculator as if we were planning to erect a new fence and the total cost came out at about £200 for submitting the planning application.


Do I need building regulations or any other regulations?


Depending on where you live, you might need other approvals than just the regular planning permission. For example, you might need approval under the building regulations. This approval goes through the local council.

As previously mentioned, should you live in, or in some cases just near a historically listed building then you also need to obtain listed building consent.

If you are not the owner of the land where you are erecting a fence, i.e. if you are renting your property or if the new fence is within your neighbours’ dwelling boundary then you need to obtain the permission of the landowner before going ahead.


What’s next?


If you’re on the lookout for material, check out our fence supplies and our fencing calculator to calculate how much material you are going to need.

If you need a hand planning or perhaps aren’t feeling the build yourself, our timber experts are ready to help you out! Come by our timberyard and we’d be happy to discuss your project!



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