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Swimming Pools: Do You Need Planning Permission?

Whether to warm you up or cool you down, there are many benefits to having a family swimming pool. Not only is it an easy way to exercise, it can also enhance your home’s appearance and potentially boost its future selling price. If you’ve decided to take the plunge and get your very own swimming pool, your first question may be whether you need planning permission. And if so, what is the process to obtain planning permission? It’s actually more straightforward than you think, so just take a look at our guide below about how to secure your swimming pool planning permission.

Do I need planning permission?

Outdoor pools: Generally no, as outdoor pools are considered a garden project. However, there are a few exceptions. If your property is in a greenbelt area, a conservation site, a National Park or in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it is always advisable to you may need to check with the local authority if you require permission or not.

Indoor pools: Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If your pool is going to be housed in an existing outbuilding, as long as it meets certain ‘permitted development’ criteria, which can be found online, it may not require permission. We recommend you get a professional on board to help you navigate the ins and outs of the process. An architect can assess your site and draw up plans for the pool and potential enclosure, and can advise on planning permission, taking into account the water, air heating and humidification requirements. If you’re still not certain if you need permission, get in contact with the local authority to find out.

Spas/Hot tubs: Hot tub planning permission is generally not necessary (especially if the hot tub is in ‘portable’ mode) except under certain circumstances e.g. permission might be needed for the building under certain circumstances. There are also other criteria to consider that a professional will be able to advise you on.

Why do I need planning permission?

Planning permission is a legal requirement and you are obligated to secure the appropriate approval before commencing any developments. You may not realise it, but certain builds and projects can have unforeseen impacts that may affect wildlife, surrounding buildings, and other factors. If you fail to obtain planning permission when you require it, you may be ordered to pull down the illegal construction, costing you a lot of time and money. In summary, it’s not worth the risk!

How do I get planning permission?

So you have carried out the above and need planning permission? The next step is to apply, but before you do, it might be useful to have an informal chat with a planning officer to discuss any potential issues and to assess whether your project is likely to be approved. Please note, sometimes there is a charge for this meeting.

Ensure you have all your site plans professionally prepared before you apply. A good local architect should have a feel for what is likely to be permitted. You can either apply online or by post yourself, or your architect can apply on your behalf.

To apply, you will need;

  • Means to pay the fee
  • Mandatory supporting information (specifics vary and can be found online)  
  • The site plans
  • Completed application form (at least 3 copies)


What if planning permission is denied?

Your local authority must give written reasons why, and if you feel these reasons are not satisfactory, speak directly to a member of staff at the planning department who may be able to advise how your design can be adapted to make your application more successful. Appeals are also possible, but they have the disadvantage of sometimes being a lengthy process.

I have planning permission; now what?

Congratulations! You’ve navigated the red tape, and now the fun can begin. Your next step will be to recruit trustworthy pool contractors to design and construct your finished product. The team here at H2O Swimming Pools have over 30 years’ experience delivering high quality indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Our specialists will audit your site, and create a design to suit your terrain and individual requirements. Our construction professionals will then build and complete the pool to high standards.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Whether you pool requires planning permission or not, you do need to check that it complies with Building Regulations. Under new regulations, indoor pools need to meet certain heating and energy performance standards. Other factors such as insulation, ground conditions, and construction methods may also need to be considered. It’s always worth checking with your local authority or a pool professional to find out if you need to comply with any Building Regulations.

If you’re seeking trusted contractors who can deliver any pool project, look no further than H2O Swimming Pools. We can offer bespoke swimming pool designs, seeing your build through from inception to the finished product. Our team are also able to offer a range of luxury hot tubs, as well as swimming pool maintenance services and supplies. For more information, simply get in touch with our friendly advisers today.


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