September 2021

Bike storage: gardens

[This page concentrates on the legal and planning permission aspects of bike sheds in gardens, particularly front gardens.  See also our page on bike storage for tenement and flat dwellers, which includes some information on suppliers of sheds/containers and our page about onstreet secure bike storage].


Do you need planning permission for a garden shed?

Spokes Factsheet:  Cycle Storage in Gardens [pdf 212k]  UPDATE – As from 1.4.21 you will no longer need planning permissions for sheds under 1.5m (h) x 2.5m (w) x 1.2m (d) in front or side gardens – see para 2012 below

Status of Factsheet:  The factsheet went to the Council’s Planning Committee, where councillors approved this report to 3.10.13 Council Planning Committee [pdf 1MB].   The report states…

“The advice provided in the factsheet is considered appropriate.  The factsheet will..

  • Provide greater clarity and certainty for householders by clearly specifying guidelines for the form of cycle storage that will normally be considered acceptable
  • Reduce the number of unsuccessful applications and potential enforcement cases
  • Provide a subsequent reduction in costs through application fees.
  • The factsheet will be supported by inclusion on the Council’s cycling related web pages and mention in the Householder Guidance.”

The Council’s document Guidance for Householders now includes a link to our factsheet [see page 15 of the Guidance].  The Guidance is linked from their Planning Guidelines webpage [see download planning guidelines pdfs]


2011 CEC Planning Committee 2.12.20  Council response to govt consultn [2010 above] opposed PDR [see appendix 2]  Cllr Booth motion to support PDR   Spokes briefing for councillors  SNP/Lab/Con opposed, and motion lost (but government expected to go ahead anyway)  Tweet thread from the meeting.

1706 CEC Guidance for Householders revision consultation – see para 1706 on our local policy submissions page.

1410 02 Spokes factsheet, one-year review Planning Cttee report.  Few cases so far, so recommends further 2-year trial.   Also useful comments on colony bike sheds [3.4-3.5].

1310 03  Spokes factsheet ‘considered appropriate‘ by Planning Committee and will be mentioned in the Council’s guidance to householders on planning issues.  See news item for more background.

1305 16  Edinburgh Council Planning Committee has approved a motion by Cllr Nigel Bagshaw, seconded by Cllr Sandy Howat, instructing officers to investigate Spokes proposals on garden bike storage.  Spokes has prepared a draft factsheet [Oct 2013 update – the finalised version is now above] to improve clarity for householders, reduce the likelihood of abortive applications or enforcement notices to remove sheds, and reduce costs.  Also a paper on steps the Council could take to make garden storage easier [doc 20k].

12xx  Our initiative to prepare a factsheet on garden sheds was prompted by several distressing cases where people wishing to use bikes to get around the city had great difficulty in getting permission to install a garden shed/container, and/or were served with an enforcement notice to remove an existing storage unit.   See our original story [26.9.12] and some of the eventual outcomes [19.12.12] following great efforts by the householders, local councillors and Spokes.  Council briefing document on current rules and examples of unauthorised sheds [we accepted some, not all, of these were inappropriate].

1212 06 Bike sheds in Colony-style housing   Council report – as a result of the consultation below the proposed shed size requirements were removed and instead shed applications “will be considered on their merits” [2.15].

1210  Bike sheds in Colony-style housing   In 2012 the Council consulted on granting conservation status to Edinburgh’s colony housing areas.  It proposed height and volume restrictions on garden sheds.   Spokes response  Response by Flower Colonies Residents’ Assn.


1301 Ealing Cycling Campaign has published a tremendous paper Secure Cycle Storage in Residential Front Gardens [pdf 1.2MB]  highlighting exactly the same issues, and the steps already being taken and discussed by the London Borough Councils of Ealing and Wandsworth to address these problems.  Of course, the document is based on English law, albeit that there are close parallels with Scottish in this context.