Do we need planning permission for a school canopy?

Posted on | Posted in Education

Do we need planning permission for a school canopy?  

Yes. School canopies are categorised as building extensions under Town and Country Planning Legislation and you need to seek permission before installing one.

The good news is that planning is not always needed, as canopies can often fall under permitted development rules. At Canopies UK, we’ve installed thousands of canopies for schools across the UK. All of these have met planning rules and the expectations of the schools and colleges.

We would always advise schools, colleges, and education centres to get in touch with their local authority for confirmation before any work. Read on for more information on applying for planning permission for a school canopy.


What criteria are involved in planning permission for a school canopy?

Schools, colleges, and universities fall under Class M of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.

Here’s what Class M specifies as a permitted development:

The gross floor space of any buildings erected, extended, or altered is under 25% of the gross floor space of the original building, or under 100 square metres (whichever is the lesser).

The development needs to be at least 5 metres from a boundary or perimeter of the grounds.

The height of any new building is under 5 metres.

The development can’t prevent any land that’s been used as a playing field in the last 5 years from being used anymore.

The development is within the curtilage of your existing buildings and is to be used as part of activities associated with that your school, college, or university.


What’s the process for applying for planning permission for a school canopy?

An application is made to the local council. Most councils deal with planning applications digitally and there will be an online portal for you to complete your application.

There’s usually a set list of requirements needed for an application, including location plans; site plans; drawings of the canopy; descriptions of materials used; and the intended use of the canopy. We provide drawings of the canopy including an artist’s impression and a 2D CAD of our canopy structure. We don’t provide elevation drawings.


How long does the application take?

Most councils work to 8-weeks from point of submission to decision date. This would be longer if there’s anything special about the site. For example, if your school building is listed or in a green belt area.


Does planning permission cause lengthy delays?

No, planning permission will rarely hold up your new canopy installation. We account for the time to seek planning within our design and production timescales. You will know the installation dates to work to after the initial discussions with us.


Will Canopies UK help with the process?

Yes, we’ve contributed to thousands of planning applications and know what plans and documents to provide. Although some details may be different for each local council, our team have the knowledge to support you through the process.

If you prefer, we can fully handle the application for you working with a third-party planning consultancy. The fees for this service vary between local councils.


Considering extending your school building? Find out about outdoor classrooms and outdoor dining canopies. Contact us on 01254 777 002 or