THE 28 DAY RULE FOR USING LAND OR BUILDINGS FOR AN ALTERNATIVE USE WITHOUT THE NEED FOR FORMAL PLANNING
This is not strictly permitted development that can be utilised by most ordinary
home owners but it is an interesting concept worthy of discussion.
There is a provision within planning regulations for the temporary use of land (Part 4 of Town & Country
Planning General Permitted Development Order).
This effectively lets you use a site without having to get formal planning permission for a certain number of
days per year. Event organisers use it al lot for events, gymkhanas, arts festivals, local fairs and the like.
Its legal implementation is quite narrowly focussed but here are the general rules.
Firstly the land to be used for an alternative temporary use must not be part of a residential
curtilage of a domestic home or building so residential gardens, car parks etc. are excluded combined
with caravan sites which are dealt with by other legislation together with the displaying of an
The land can be used for not more than 28 days in any calendar year and allows for the siting of moveable
structures in connection with the use (porta-loos, stalls etc).
The period of temporary use is reduced to 14 days per year for the purposes of markets (car boots) and motor
car/cycle racing. Also if the land is within a site of special scientific interest (SSI) then motor sports, clay
pigeon shooting and "war games" are completely prohibited unless prior planning approval has been obtained.
Outdoor camping by use of a tent for example can be permitted under this 28 day rule on land that is not part
of a residential dwelling. This use is not per person or family. It is in total for the year whoever
camps on the land.
The problem for the Planners is trying to count and keep track of the days that you do the alternative use
on. Therefore, it can be quite easy to stretch the days well beyond the 'formal' 28 day limit. Many
people simply carry on with the alternative use until they first get caught & then continue haphazardly relying
on the Planners to formerly count the number of days used per year hoping that they will miss a few.
However, be warned, that the eyes and ears of the Planners and their enforcement section are usually the
disgruntled neighbours with a grudge and video cam to hand so it is often not that easy to exploit the time limits
for the year.
wording of the legislation:-
PART 4 - TEMPORARY BUILDINGS AND USES
A. The provision on land of buildings, moveable structures, works,
plant or machinery required temporarily in connection with and for the duration of operations being or to be
carried out on, in, under or over that land or on land adjoining that land.
Development not permitted
A.1 Development is not permitted by Class A if—
(a)the operations referred to are mining operations, or
(b)planning permission is required for those operations but is not granted or deemed to be
A.2 Development is permitted by Class A subject to the conditions that,
when the operations have been carried out—
(a)any building, structure, works, plant or machinery permitted by Class A shall be removed,
(b)any adjoining land on which development permitted by Class A has been carried out shall,
as soon as reasonably practicable, be reinstated to its condition before that development was carried
B. The use of any land for any purpose for not more than 28 days in
total in any calendar year, of which not more than 14 days in total may be for the purposes referred to in
paragraph B.2, and the provision on the land of any moveable structure for the purposes of the permitted
Development not permitted
B.1 Development is not permitted by Class B if—
(a)the land in question is a building or is within the curtilage of a building,
(b)the use of the land is for a caravan site,
(c)the land is, or is within, a site of special scientific interest and the use of the land
(i)a purpose referred to in paragraph B.2(b) or other motor sports;
(ii)clay pigeon shooting; or
(iii)any war game,
(d)the use of the land is for the display of an advertisement.
Interpretation of Class B
B.2 The purposes mentioned in Class B above are—
(a)the holding of a market;
(b)motor car and motorcycle racing including trials of speed, and practising for these
B.3 In Class B, “war game” means an enacted, mock or imaginary battle
conducted with weapons which are designed not to injure (including smoke bombs, or guns or grenades which
fire or spray paint or are otherwise used to mark other participants), but excludes military activities or
training exercises organised by or with the authority of the Secretary of State for Defence.