Huts and Building Regulations: Have your say!

Alasdairs-hut-1

Have you responded to the Scottish Government consultation proposing a possible exemption of huts from building regulations? If not, hurry – you only have until 12 February to do so. This is our chance to make having a hut easier and more affordable.

STOP PRESS – Following our radio interview this morning on BBC Scotland Out of Doors, a few people have drawn our attention to the fact that an error on the Scottish Government consultations website makes it look as if the huts consultation is already closed. All Government documents make it clear that the deadline is 12 February. We have contacted the Scottish Government about this and hope it will be resolved soon. In the meantime you can send your consultation responses to buildingstandards@gov.scot

Why do the regulations need to be changed?

Currently, if you want get permission to build a simple hut with sleeping accommodation you have to comply with the same building regulations as you would if you were building a house. The Government’s proposed amendment would make hut building simpler and more affordable by exempting huts from most building regulations. Continue reading

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New planning guidance for huts in 2016

Inshriach Bothy built by Bobby Niven and Iain Macleod as part of an RSA residency.

Inshriach Bothy built by Bobby Niven and Iain Macleod as part of an RSA residency.

Many of you will know that we’ve been working on a new publication, New hutting developments: Guidance on planning, developing and managing huts which sets out the values and characteristics of good practice in hut developments to maximise their benefit for health and wellbeing, our relationship with the natural environment and our cultural life. This document has been subject to a rigorous review by planning professionals and is now nearing completion. It will be launched in mid February.

Now Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts campaign has been given a grant by the Planning Exchange Foundation to roll this out into a series of seminars for planning professionals, hut builders and other interested parties. If you would like to be kept up to date with news of the launch of this guidance and the events following it, please send an email to huts(at)reforestingscotland.org

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Scottish Government launches huts consultation

Alasdairs-hut-1This week the Scottish Government opened a consultation on a proposed amendment to building regulations which could make it simpler and more affordable to build a small, low impact hut for recreational use.

Currently huts and bothies have to meet building regulations in full, adding significant cost to their construction. However this consultation presents several ways to reduce the regulatory burden on them. One option under consultation is a proposal that huts and bothies should become exempt from the building regulations Continue reading

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Crofters, ceilidhs and cabins!

Henry-at-the-studioThis past weekend we were up at the Assynt Foundation’s Glencanisp Lodge for the Reforesting Scotland gathering. If you’ve never been to an RS Gathering, do think about coming next year. It brings together a feisty collection of like-minded folk in a beautiful part of Scotland for enlightening conversations, study trips and a good bit of ceilidh-ing – what more could you ask? Find out about next year’s gathering by becoming a member of RS.

Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts campaign hosted a session at the gathering which included a walk round a selection of buildings by Henry Fosbrooke around Glencanisp Lodge, and a look with Assynt Foundation deputy chairman Nigel Goldie at a possible hut site on the hillside behind the lodge. Glencanisp is the proposed location for the Bothy Project’s latest building, the Pig Rock Bothy, currently installed at the Gallery of Modern Art Continue reading

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Stirling Council proposes inclusion of huts in Local Development Plan

Carbeth-Thistle-Dae-hutStirling Council – the home of the Carbeth hut site – is taking a lead in bringing the new Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) on hutting into its Local Development Plan (LDP).

Stirling Council has published a  Topic Paper on Huts and Hutting to accompany its Main Issues Report, the first formal stage in preparing a new LDP. Currently under consultation, this paper proposes to include specific policy on huts in the new LDP, based on the definition of huts contained within the SPP, and the legacy of hutting in Stirlingshire at Carbeth and other locations. A number of years ago Stirling Council designated Carbeth as a Conservation Area in recognition of its heritage value, and the Conservation Area Appraisal was adopted as Supplementary Guidance (SG07) for planning decisions.

The Main Issues Report is under consultation until Friday 9th October 2015. You can participate in the consultation here.

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Why do huts make people happy?

Huts and wellbeing eventOn 17th August, Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts campaign hosted an event at Abriachan Community Woodland exploring the health and wellbeing benefits of hutting.

A lively crowd of people came together to lend their thoughts and ideas to the discussion, including hutters, builders and representatives of the Forestry Commission, NHS Highland and the Cairngorm National Park Authority. Continue reading

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Students! Opportunity for research on hutting

Kittiwake hut KGWe are looking for some students who might like to take on several pieces of research, including the analysis of two surveys we have carried out:

  • Survey of prospective hutters – including around 20 questions on peoples aspirations for a hut of their own, including affordibility, location etc. (there are around 560 responses to this)
  • Survey of existing huts – including around 20 questions on hut use, structure, cost etc (there about 60 responses to this) 
  • Study of the development of Hut Pilot Sites
  • Huts and Wellbeing

Continue reading

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Come and see Peter’s Hut at the Scottish Storytelling Centre

Peter-and-his-hutIf you go down to the Nordic House exhibition at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh between 30th July and 5th September you’re in for some hutting inspiration. Architect and builder, Peter Caunt of Quercus Rural Building Design, has designed a beautiful hut within the new Scottish Planning Policy definition of a hut and has created a model which sits near the sculpture of Patrick Geddes in the garden there for the duration of the exhibition – a model for how huts might look in 21st century Scotland. The model gives a great feel how such a hut would look in the landscape and what it would be like to occupy it. So, if you need help to envisage your own hut, go along and have a look.

The Nordic House is a free exhibition of artwork from the five Nordic nations, including a a series of images of Vennlyst allotment gardens – still a vibrant hutting community today. Exhibition Director, Lesley Riddoch, thought this resonated with the campaign to establish more huts and hutting communities in Scotland after years of decline, so Peter’s hut was born.

For more hut inspiration, have a look at our Gallery of New Huts, also collated by Peter for A Thousand Huts.

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A hut in the woods: creating spaces that change how we relate to the world

Thoreaus_quote_near_his_cabin_site,_Walden_PondImagine a small, simple, handmade building that resonates with a sense of humanity in balance with the rest of the natural world. Through the ages, huts have provided this bridge between nature and culture: a work of art you can live in.

For the last four years Reforesting Scotland’s campaign for A Thousand Huts has worked hard to remove the barriers to building a simple, low impact hut in the woods. Last year’s inclusion of huts in the new Scottish Planning Policy was a huge milestone and a significant leap forward, but a lot of work is required to make the dream a reality. The new policy needs to be embraced by the worlds of planning, building standards, and those with access to land (whether private, public, or community owners). So there is a lot of work to do in communicating the technicalities of hutting and the opportunities huts can offer in terms of wellbeing, nature connection, and ecologically sustainable rural development.

Here’s an update on just some of our work in the last few months:

A Pilot Hut Site on Forestry Commission land. This project is progressing well and we hope it will serve as an inspiring demonstration of Continue reading

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Voting open for ‘Shed of the Year’

Cormac SeekingVoting is open for Channel 4’s ‘Amazing Spaces Shed of the Year 2015′, and this year’s shortlist includes at least one from the Thousand Huts network: Cormac Seeking’s beautiful log cabin, which has featured on so many of our hut promotions. You can vote for Cormac’s hut here – or for any of the other dazzling entries, for that matter!

While it might pain many hutters to refer to their masterpiece as a ‘shed’, there is no doubt that the ‘Shed of the Year’ competition shows an amazing range of mischief, innovation and sheer creativity. There are lots of great ideas there, as well as a fair bit of inspiration to get building!

Cast your vote soon – voting closes at noon on May 29th 2015.

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