Contrary to what some may believe, huts do require planning permission. Hut builders should not be daunted by this, as the Scottish Government created a planning policy for huts in 2014 which was designed to increase hutting across Scotland. However, it is still early days and there is a wide variation in how each planning authority is rolling out this policy.
We have published a guide book (New hutting developments: Good practice guidance on the planning, development and management of huts and hut sites’) to help hutters apply for planning permission for huts – and to help planners make decisions on hut applications. We recommend reading this before you apply for planning permission, and also emailing it to the planners during your application process to ensure they understand the nature of a hut development.
How to apply for planning permission for a hut
First, you need to ensure that your building would meet the definition of a hut in Scottish Planning Policy:
A hut: A simple building used intermittently as recreational accommodation (i.e. not a principal residence); having an internal floor area of no more than 30m2; constructed from low impact materials; generally not connected to mains water, electricity or sewerage; and built in such a way that it is removable with little or no trace at the end of its life. Huts may be built singly or in groups.
If your building does meet this definition, you can apply for permission on this basis. The policy framework around huts will help your planner to decide whether or not to recommend the application for approval. You may wish to ensure they are aware of the policy and share the guidance paper with them – New hutting developments: Good practice guidance on the planning, development and management of huts and hut sites’ – downloadable here as a PDF.
Your planning application will need to be submitted to the planning authority responsible for the area where you want to build your hut. Some planning authorities allow you to submit a pre-application form for free. By this process, they can give you advice before you commit to a full application. Some authorities also offer planning surgeries, where you can drop in and have a chat with a planner before you apply. You may also wish to look at other successful hut planning applications for guidance, or, for a more complex application, you may wish to engage the services of a planning consultant with a particular interest in huts.
Huts and Building Regulations
Meeting the Scottish Planning Policy definition also means that your building should qualify for the lighter-touch building regulations related to huts. On this website you will find THE GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE TO HUT CONSTRUCTION which guides you through the process. Huts fall within Building Type 23A (whereby most aspects of hut build are exempt from the need for building warrants and many of the regulations that apply to housing). See also the appendices (APPENDIX 1, APPENDIX 2 and APPENDIX 3) which guide you through the process.
What is the difference between Planning Permission and Building Regulations?
Planning rules are there to manage the way that towns and countryside are developed. Planners are interested in the siting, design, use and environmental impact of a development. When your application goes through the planning process, it will also trigger the building control process. This is based on building regulations that set standards for the design and construction of buildings largely to ensure energy efficiency and the safety and health for people in or about those buildings. Although the two areas overlap, their key roles and regulation are completely different. They are each managed by different departments within planning authorities.