Clarification of ground floor level of terrace house on slope.

March 23, 2015 by Matthew in forum Planning Forum

#408 Matthew , 23 March 2015, 17:15


Wonder if anyone can help with some clarification of what would be considered the ground level on our property.

We would like to remove an old coal bunker and build some wooden decking in its place in the garden of our 1930’s terraced house. We would like extend the decking area out to the 3 metres of our permitted development. Due to the topographical characteristics of the land surrounding the house however, we are unsure whether it can be done on permitted development or whether planning permission is required.

The land slopes from front to back with the pavement at the street level significantly higher than the back garden. Steps run down from the street level to the front door and also from the roof of the coal bunker at the rear down into the garden.

Our confusion arises from the terminology used in the Planning Portals permitted development guidance information.

It states that planning permission for decking is required if "The raised platform of the structure is more than 300mm above ground level (measured at the highest point)”.

This leads us to consider, because of the unusual topography surrounding our house, what exactly the ground level on our property is.

Regarding this point the Planning Portal technical guidance section states:

"Ground level is the surface of the ground immediately adjacent to the building in question. Where ground level is not uniform (eg if the ground is sloping), then the ground level is the highest part of the surface of the ground next to the building".

My understanding from reading this is that ground level on our property would be from the bottom of the front elevation wall (the bottom of the front wall of the house) as this is the highest part of the surface of the ground next to the building and that planning permission wouldn’t be required as the timber decking structure wouldn’t be built up over 300mm from that ground level.

Can anyone confirm whether I am right in thinking this?

Any help would be really appreciated. So far I've spoken with council planners, building regs and the department for communities and local government and none of them can clarify this simple question. I going round in circles and its sending me crazy.


#412 Conrad, 27 March 2015, 22:35

Hi Matthew,

All your rationals and assumptions are correct based on the general guidance found on the planning portal. I would suggest you submit a lawful development application to gain approval from the council for the detail and specific nature of the development. This way you remove the risk of any enforcement action later down the line following the development.



#735 Sarah, 3 July 2020, 20:46

I find myself in the same position. Did you get any clarification on this?

#736 Damian, 4 July 2020, 08:47

A post from over five years ago, I would have hoped so.

Do you also have a decking issue on sloping ground?

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