Help required with shed application

Hi again everyone,

Not much of a poster, but we are both regular readers and have picked up many useful pointers from contributors.

Sold the huge 3storey house in the middle of a town,
having renovated and upgraded the place including buying a completely separate house 150metres up the road that owned a garage adjoining our place.

We managed to link the two properties and selling the second house separately.

We were extremely fortunate to have our house sold within two weeks of listing it to a buyer from SE Asia who viewed the property entirely online. The wonders of modern technology.

Now fully settled in our lovely bungalow in the countryside just a kilometer from a lovely little town with very helpful neighbors and all of the shops, restaurants etc; within walking distance.

Plus a lovely huge garden of about an acre for our rescue dog that I can easily manage bombing around with our ride on mower.

The is a small summerhouse at the far end of the property where the lawn mower and garden tools are stored, so we decided to apply for permission for a nice “Abri de Jardin” to store our multitude of boxes etc:

Very surprised to receive a letter from the Mairie refusing permission to erect the shed because it would exceed the 30 square foot maximum development permitted.

Although the summerhouse was comstructed at the same time as the bungalow, they are adding that to the permitted calculations.

Looking around the village I count in excess of thirty properties where the rules have been completely ignored. My inquiries reveal reasoning like “if you don’t put a floor in, it doesn’t count.”. As well as $we have never bothered with the Mairie" and various other excuses all of which fly in the face of the permitted development rules. A good number of these are full blown extensions etc:

Visited the French governmental website which very conveniently shows a satellite view with a Cadastral map overlay showing all of these "illegal additions " as clear as day.

Our immediate neighbor has no less than three extensions to the bungalow plus several additional outbuildings.

The last thing we want to do is cause problems for our neighbors etc; but would like to be able to contest the ruling without causing too much fallout.

Many thanks for reading through this Epistle and we would appreciate any and all advice.

Many thanks

Pat Quinn

Planning rules changed - size before permission was reduced and the various "temporary exemptions were also removed.

So what was allowed is no longer allowed without paper.

Any shed over 5 sq metres needs a DP now and over 20 it’s full planning. Plus any local rules under the local PLU

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Might be worth visiting your Mairie and asking for an appointment to go through your Refused Application…
Then you can ask them just what might be allowed… possibly a small extension to the existing home rather than a freestanding building… might need to go for something much smaller than you had planned… who knows…

Either way, it’s got to be worth a gentle, polite discussion.

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I’m slightly confused. Did you submit a déclaration préalable for the shed rather than all the forms for full planning permission? A déclaration préalable is for things that have essentially a permitted development right, If so, if the shed is over 20m2 then it would automatically be refused.

This doesn’t mean that permission for the shed would be refused, just that you have not done it the right way. (Although of course it might be refused still).

And don’t increase your blood pressure by comparing to neighbours. You presumably have no idea if their sheds were built on pre-existing footings of old buildings, whether they made applications for full planning permission, or (my favorite neighbour) a whole series of small sheds that fall under the size thresholds.

So how big is your shed, and did you apply for DP or full planning?

(I presume your 30 sq ft was a typo?)

Hi Jane,

Many thanks for your reply. As I understand it I did not apply for full planning permission because the actual measurements of the proposed shed are 3.3m X 3.1m which by my calculations makes 10.23 sq m.

The measurements of the existing summerhouse constructed with the bungalow is 4.0m X 3.5m which makes 14 sq m.

Therefore my my calculations makes 24.23 which falls within the permitted maximum development of 30 sq m.

Unfortunately reading the letter from the Mairie in their calculations they have included a garage also constructed at the same time as the bungalow measuring 6.5m X 3.7m. Therefore the garage alone makes 24.05 sq. m.

Obviously I excluded the garage from my calculations because in my naivety I did not consider this as development.

It seems to come down to the calculations and I can blame my errors on my Irish blood, plus life is far too short to get uptight over such things

Hey ho, know anyone who wants to buy a metal shed?

Kind regards

Pat Quinn

See if you can swap it for one that is 5m2 which needs no permission?

But you could try a polite letter to the DGIP requesting a recalculation as garage was not an extension but part of original footprint (probably wasn’t the marie’s decision)

Oh gosh… why did you buy the shed… had you been told permission was “on the cards” ?
(what a predicament… drat and double drat…)

perhaps there will be some “easing” if you go and talk things through at the Mairie… fingers crossed.

As I have on occasion mentioned before, the English approach to complying with regulations is not the same as the French approach. I have a little planning issue of my own which I asked my huissier pal about and his advice was if you are not being chased, say nothing. This could well all catch up with me when I sell but It’ll be easily sorted then. I suspect the folk that have developed around you have taken the same approach.

As an example, when my neighbour sold his property ten years ago there was a shed adjoining my boundary that was too close, they just took it down until they sold and the new owners put it back up. It didn’t cause me any problems, so everyone is happy, but it is illegal :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

Dealing with the Maire or any other officials will just get you the official line. Try sussing out (as we used to say) the real rules by talking to your neighbours.


I think you’ve put your fimger on something very fundamental John.

I can’t help thinking that at EU level, the UK might have been taking things too literally sometimes whilst in the EU. Whereas more subtly, it seems there is more wiggle room in things in countries in the EU, than might be at first noticeable from an Anglo point of view.

I have watched with incredulity (and growing admiration) as France has taken steps, or rather pretty much no steps over at least 3 years now (and I think it might even be 4 or 5 years), to bring into force the EU requirement that motorbikes and scooters must have an MoT (CT/contrôle technique). Shockingly, this is not currently required in France.

There have been delays due to covid, and other reasons that have occurred for delay. The latest is that a ‘consultation’ (I think with quite a lot of parties that will need to be involved) will sometime soon be initiated…and and and…

It’s masterful. A large number of French youth seems to depend on scooters, schoolchildren, students, apprentices, young people early in their career, snd a lot of low income voters sorry people. Practically, the imposition of a CT régime for their two-wheeled transport is going to hit these people terribly. There is a safety issue, but the financial issues would become urgent for scooter riders in particular all over France. Many scooters are likely to be condemned due CT failure/cost of repair.

I don’t think the French government want to hurt these people and they are trying to find a solution… but taking their time (it’s well past the time the EU said it was required to be implemented).

I am watching this unfold, and can’t help thinking the UK could have done with not taking things in the EU, as literally as it might have been natural for us Anglos to.


From what I recall, when UK was part of Europe… the UK did what it wanted to do, as and when it suited it. :wink:

Ah yes but not before they blamed it on alledged EU rules first.

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Which is fine until something changes (like the mayor, or the planning law that was in place when your neighbours did whatever they did) and you find yourself fined for not complying with regulation X.

Of the undeclared 20,000 swimming pools that have been identified and are now being followed up I wonder how many thought they were ok because they were a friend of the mayor at that time, or had put in a DP for something smaller?

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As I’ve reported elsewhere, a local Brit had to demolish the building he’d erected without permission… but I’ve no idea if he was fined as well…

his notion was that as he was the landowner, he could do whatever he wanted… nope!

and it’s not just Brits…
A Frenchman decided to install a holiday home “on the quiet”… even though it was down an overgrown rural track and not easily noticed… it was!

The building had to be demolished and even the concrete base needed to be broken up and removed… returning the “green area” to its former glory…

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All they want is the taxe foncière Jane :face_with_hand_over_mouth: Based on my informed advice the only time the planning permission will catch up with you (if ever) is on sale.

I must admit, this is something I’ve always found vaguely refreshing, of course there are exceptions to every rule but that does seem to be the general view in this country. As much as there is on the one hand the laidback ‘if no one finds out it’s all good’ approach, if you put in the paperwork, primarily so the government gets their pound of tax, you can do what you want in life. As I say, clearly this is a VAST generalisation, but compared to the UK where the money changing hands too often is from developers and in brown envelopes and if you’re not a developer with wads of cash but a normy you end up in some torturous hell of rules and procedures, or the US where HOAs rule and fine you for not cutting your grass weekly or not watering it enough so it looks more brown than green, and every lightbulb changed requires long and expensive permits being pulled by licensed contractors, in France you do the bureaucracy, and most importantly pay the tax, and all is good.

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This is certainly not the case nationwide… and, frankly, it would be unwise for anyone to assume that it is… :wink:

I guess it’s a case of “when in Rome” Kirstea. Seeing one jurisdiction’s rules through the lens of another distorts the reality. The attitude to laws, rules and regulations in Scandinavia is not the same as in Greece or Sicily. We live somewhere in the middle :slightly_smiling_face: