Do You Need Planning Permission in the UK to Install a Swim Spa?

7th May 2024

For many people who love to swim but don’t enjoy crowded public pools or long commutes to the gym, a swim spa is an excellent choice.

However, before you dive into installing one, it’s crucial to understand the legal landscape around placing one on your property.

A key concern among many future swim spa owners is planning permission, and here at Hydropool Surrey, we are always keen to discuss this with our clients in detail.

We’ve created this guide to run through the planning permissions you may encounter, and to help you make sure these regulations don’t turn your dream of home-based aquatic exercise into a bureaucratic nightmare.

Let’s take a look.

Understanding Planning Permission

In the UK, planning permission is a requirement determined by local planning authorities to ensure that any building work or changes to the use of land or buildings meet specific standards.

This process is vital for controlling inappropriate developments and ensuring that any changes harmonise with the overall character of the area and do not adversely affect the neighbours or environment.

A key thing to point out here is the difference between a swim spa and a swimming pool. The size and flexibility of a swim spa is one of its key benefits, and this varies greatly from a swimming pool, which often takes structural work and a lot of planning to install.

Due to this, swimming pools often need planning permission, whereas swim spas can have a much simpler installation.

19DTAX AquaSport

General Rules for Installing Swim Spas

Typically, swim spas installed in residential properties fall under “permitted development” rights, which allow homeowners to make certain changes to their property without needing to apply for planning permission.

As touched on above, these are smaller in size than swimming pools, due to the fact you can swim in place and don’t need long lanes to get your exercise in.

They can also be moved around, so rather than a permanent installation, you can place it in a location which works for you and doesn’t cause disruption to your neighbours.

There are some stipulations, such as if the swim spa covers a large portion of your garden or exceeds a certain height, but these shouldn’t be a concern.

It is always worth checking before installation though, and our team can help with this to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Specific Conditions Affecting Planning Permission for Swim Spas

Despite the general allowances, certain conditions might require you to apply for planning permission:


  • Height and size limitations: If your swim spa is above ground and exceeds 3 meters in height or has a roof, it could require permission. While none of our swim spas are that high, we often get clients wanting some privacy and therefore installing a roof is a good idea. This should be assessed fully, especially if near a boundary.


  • Proximity to boundaries: Installation very close to property boundaries might need assessment, especially if it could impact neighbours’ privacy or use of their property. While a swim spa itself won’t cause any issues, again, be wary of the structure surrounding it.


  • Listed buildings and designated lands: Homes in conservation areas or listed buildings will likely need additional permissions to ensure that any external changes preserve the area’s historical and aesthetic integrity.

While these are some things to be aware of, a swim spa itself is the perfect application for fuss-free installation, especially when working with a team like Hydropool Surrey.

How to Check if You Need Planning Permission

To determine whether you need planning permission, you should start by checking the planning portal provided by your local council’s website.

This portal typically includes guidelines and specifics about your locality.

Additionally, consulting with a planning officer from the local council can provide personalised guidance and prevent potential legal issues down the line.


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Does a Swim Spa Need Planning Permission?

At the beginning of this blog, we set out to answer the question above, and we are happy to say the answer is ‘probably not’.

Our swim spas are made to be compact and can be utilised in small gardens or rooms. This means they don’t cause much disruption, and therefore planning permission won’t be a requirement.

Of course, if you are building a large structure around your spa, then this may cause issues, but as a rule of thumb, the swim spa in itself will be fine.

Swim Spas from Hydropool Surrey

While the idea of installing a swim spa is exciting, it’s essential to ensure compliance with local planning regulations.

Taking the time to understand and adhere to these rules can save you from future headaches and help maintain the value and legality of your property improvements.

Want to know more? Then your best option is to book an appointment and pay a visit to our showroom. Our team will happily talk you through our range of swim spas, and can answer any questions you have related to planning permission and beyond.

Or, if you have a quick question that needs answering urgently, get in touch today.