Do you need planning permission for a porch? The rules you need to follow

Dreaming of adding a beautiful front porch to your home? Here's what you need to know about planning permission first

White porch with wavy trim
(Image credit: Future PLC / Dan Duchars)

Front porches are a sure way to make an impact with any guests visiting your home. They can make a beautiful addition to a house, offering more storage space inside and complementing the aesthetic from the outside. But like with any home renovation project, you need to check if you need planning permission for a porch before embarking on a reno project.

If you've got your heart set on having the best front porch ideas, you might be tempted to jump straight in and let the building work commence. But going ahead without planning permission - if it's needed - will cause a big headache down the line. 

Porches aren't huge structures so most of them are covered under permitted development, and you don't need planning permission, but you will need to stick to some strict rules. We asked experts to clarify what rules you'll need to abide by to build a porch without planning permission.

red brick house with front porch on gravel driveway

(Image credit: Anglian Home Improvements)

Do you need planning permission for a porch?

Aside from knowing how much a porch costs, knowing whether or not you need to planning permission is an essential part of the prep. So that you have all the right info before you start planning your dream front porch, here's all the important stuff first.

front porch with white door and shoe storage

(Image credit: Anglian Home Improvements)

Many porches don't require prior planning permission. This is because a lot of porches fall under the umbrella of 'General Permitted Developments', which means they can be built without formal permission. 

Porch permitted development guidelines

There are certain guidelines the porch must meet in order to count as a General Permitted Development. Rachael Munby of Anglian Home Improvements outlines these as:

  • The ground floor area (measured externally) does not exceed three square metres.
  • The highest part of the porch is no more than three metres above ground level. This needs to be measured in the same way as an extension.
  • No part of the porch is within two metres of any boundary of your home and the road.

White porch with wavy trim

(Image credit: Future PLC)

'In addition, the existing front door between the house and porch must remain in place or be replaced with a new exterior door, and the porch must not adversely affect access if your home has ramped or level disabled access,' Rachael adds. 'And you may also need permission if your property is listed or in a conservation area.'

Basically, if your porch isn't too big and doesn't impact any roads or pathways, you shouldn't need planning permission to build it. You have the all clear to start planning those small front porch ideas.

'However, it's important to check with your local planning authority to see if your porch qualifies as a Generally Permitted Development,' says Rachael Doyle of Wetherby Building Systems.  'They can advise you on specific rules and regulations in your area.'

How much does it cost to get planning permission for a porch?

However, if your planned porch doesn't meet any of the criteria outlined above you will need to seek out planning permission. 

red brick house with blue front door opening into porch area

(Image credit: Anglian Home Improvements)

For example if you wanted to use your new porch to extend your hallway storage ideas, and you need it to be bigger than three metres in height, or larger than that in floor area. Or  you live in a listed building or conservation area, in which case planning permission is always a must. 

To obtain planning permission you will need to go to your local council and apply for planning permission. The planning permission fee tends to be anywhere between £150 and £500, depending on your area. Your local council may have their fees on their website, so it's worth checking - if not, a phone call should tell you what you need to know.

Long grey and wooden porch

(Image credit: Future PLC)

'The current standard charge for most householder planning permission applications is £258,' says Rachael from Anglian Home Improvements. 'This applies to alterations to a single dwellinghouse, such as an extension, porch, or garden building. Though note that the cost of planning permission varies in the UK depending on the application type and location of your property.'


Do you need foundations for a porch?

'To comply with building regulations, all porches regardless of size require foundations,' Rachael from Anglian Home Improvements says. 'Usually, trench foundations are between 650mm and 1000mm deep, but this can increase depending on factors such as tree roots, drains, and underground services.'

How deep the foundations need to be can only really be decided once the ground has been dug up and checked for soil. 'If there are any, you’ll need to dig a trench through that layer until you reach solid ground to give your porch a strong foundation,' Rachael explains.

How big can I build a porch without planning permission?

To build a porch without planning permission, it should be no higher than 3 metres and less than 3 square metres of floor area. 

'It should also be no more than half the width of the original house,' says Rachael from Wetherby Building Systems. 'And no closer than 2 metres to the highway boundary.'

Within these guidelines, porches are classed as General Permitted Developments, which don't require formal planning permission to be completed.

So there's everything you need to know about the all-important question, 'do you need planning permission for a porch' - when will you be starting your project?

Katie Sims

Katie Sims has been writing for Ideal Homes since spring 2022. She qualified from her Master’s in Media and Journalism in 2021 and has been writing freelance since. She has worked on Ideal Home’s ecommerce team where she researched the best home products on the market, and on the news team, researching the latest trends for feature pieces.