“Do I Need Planning Permission for a 20ft Container?”

7 Dec 2023

The use of shipping containers for various purposes, such as storage, housing, and office space, has gained significant popularity over the years. This is due to their durability, affordability, and versatility. However, one question that often arises when considering container hire is whether planning permission is required for a 20ft container. This article aims to provide clarity on this matter.

Understanding Planning Permission

Before delving into the specifics of planning permission for a 20ft container, it's crucial to understand what planning permission entails. Essentially, planning permission or consent refers to the approval needed from local authorities before carrying out certain types of building work or development. It's a mechanism that ensures any new construction or change in use of buildings aligns with local development plans and regulations.

Do You Need Planning Permission for a 20ft Container?

The need for planning permission largely depends on how you intend to use the container and where you plan to place it. Generally speaking, if you're using the container temporarily or it's not fixed permanently to the ground (i.e., it can be moved), you may not need planning permission. However, if your intention is to convert the container into a permanent structure or dwelling place, then you will likely need planning permission.

It's also worth noting that different regions have different rules regarding planning permissions. Therefore, it's always advisable to consult with your local council or a professional planner before proceeding with your container hire project.

Factors Influencing Planning Permission

Several factors can influence whether you'll need planning permission for your 20ft container hire project:

1. Location: If your property is in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), national park or conservation area, stricter rules may apply compared to other areas.

2. Use: If you plan on using the container as an extension of living space (like an extra bedroom or office), you'll likely need planning permission. However, if it's for storage purposes, you may not require permission.

3. Duration: Temporary structures often don't require planning permission. However, if the container will be on your property for a significant amount of time (usually more than 28 days), you may need to apply for permission.

4. Size: Although a 20ft container is not particularly large, its size could still impact whether or not you need planning permission. This is especially true if it's going to be placed near property boundaries or will affect your neighbours' view or privacy.

The Importance of Seeking Professional Advice

Whilst we’ve provided a general guide on planning permissions for your 20ft container hire project, it's essential to seek professional advice before proceeding. The rules and regulations surrounding planning permissions can be complex and vary greatly depending on your specific location and intended use of the container.

Contacting your local council's planning department is a good starting point. They can provide guidance tailored to your situation and help you understand whether you need to apply for planning permission, and we can be on hand to support with any technical queries that may arise.


In conclusion, whilst there are instances where you might not require planning permission for a 20ft container hire project, it's always best to check with local authorities first. This ensures that your project complies with all relevant regulations and avoids any potential issues down the line.