FAQs

ABOUT THE HUTTING MOVEMENT

ACCESSING LAND

BUILDING YOUR HUT

COSTS

HUT SITE LEASES

WHAT IS HUTTING?

Hutting is the term used for the traditional model of hut use which came to the fore in Scotland between the First and Second World Wars, whereby workers from the industrial areas of Scotland paid a little ground rent to a landowner so they could build a simple hut for the use of their family and friends. Some hut sites of this type still exist in Scotland, including the largest, Carbeth, which has 140 huts on a 90 acre site. Reforesting Scotland’s Thousand Huts campaign successfully lobbied for inclusion of huts in Scottish Planning Policy in 2014, enabling a fledgling new wave of hutting in Scotland.

HOW DO I GET A HUT?

Currently demand far exceeds the supply of huts, however several proposed hut sites are going through the planning process now. If you would like a hut you have several options: Approach existing hut sites directly and ask to be put on the waiting list for a single hut plot; Look on the Thousand Huts Facebook Group or join the mailing list for details of upcoming opportunities; Rent or purchase a piece of land and apply for permission yourself, or with a group of friends. When you have a plot, you will have the option of: Selfbuilding your hut; Paying someone else to build it; Purchasing an off-the-peg hut.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF REFORESTING SCOTLAND'S 1000 HUTS?

Reforesting Scotland (RS) is a small charity campaigning for a healthy and sustainable forest culture in Scotland. Thousand Huts is one of RS’s campaigns. Thousand Huts works to remove barriers to a sustainable hutting culture in Scotland, and to support people with information, skill-sharing, advice and events, and connect them with other hut enthusiasts.

IS THERE A CENTRALISED BODY THAT MANAGES HUT SITES IN SCOTLAND

No, there is no centralised body.

HOW CAN I KEEP CONNECTED WITH OTHER HUT ENTHUSIASTS

Thousand Huts has various networking tools where you can connect with other hutting enthusiasts. These include: Our Facebook Group (www.facebook.com/groups/118307858251185); our website and emailing list (via www.thousandhuts.org); our events (including our annual Hutters Rally).

HOW DO I FIND SUITABLE LAND FOR SALE OR RENT IN SCOTLAND

We all know that accessing land is not easy, but it is possible with a bit of perseverance and legwork. Getting together with others can keep costs down. The options you have, when looking for land include: Identifying the area you want to have your hut in and approaching landowners directly; looking at websites such as

 www.woodlands.co.ukwww.onthemarket.comwww.sva-auctions.co.ukwww.uklandandfarms.co.ukwww.futurepropertyauctions.co.uk, www.johnclegg

IF I BUY A PIECE OF LAND WILL I BE ALLOWED TO PUT A HUT ON IT?

Not automatically. You would need to apply for planning permission. See the section below on planning permission.

DO I NEED PLANNING PERMISSION FOR A HUT?

Yes. The Scottish Planning Policy 2014 includes some encouragement to planning authorities to look favourably on huts for recreational use. However, every local authority will have its own approach – some are very understanding and receptive to the idea of hutting, while others are more cautious about it. Some confuse it with tourist accommodation or permanent housing, so it is a good idea to supply your planner with good supporting information, for example our publication New Hutting Developments: Good Practice Guidance on the Planning, Development and Management of Huts and Hut Sites 

(http://www.thousandhuts.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/160215-Huts-Guidance-FINAL-screen-res.pdf).

HOW WOULD I GO ABOUT FINDING OTHERS WHO WISH TO JOINTLY BUY OR LEASE LAND FOR HUTTING?

One way would be to use the Thousand Huts Facebook Group.

DO HUTS NEED TO COMPLY WITH BUILDING REGULATIONS?

Yes there are some regulations a hut must comply with. While huts do not need to comply with all the same regulations as a house, there are some regulations it is compulsory for a hut to comply with. For details [LINKS]The hutter is responsible to ensure that their hut meets these requirements.

WHAT IS A NORMAL GROUND RENT FOR A HUT SITE?

There is no standard rate as there are many variables. Based on our survey of 50 hutters, this ranges from approximately £500-£1200 per annum per hut plot on a multiple site. It can depend on the services and initial outlay paid for by the hut site developer, as there are often substantial costs incurred at this stage.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE GROUND RENT?

This varies site by site, but often a standpipe is provided as a communal water source, and an access route may be provided.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST ME TO BUILD MY HUT?

This is a tricky question because there is such a range of variables, such as: Will you do the work yourself?; Will you be able to access reclaimed/free/cheap materials, etc. So estimates vary very widely. In summary, there is truth in the old saying that in building you can have two out of these three qualities: Good; Quick, and Cheap. For example, if you want a building to be good and quick, it won’t be cheap, as you’ll have to pay a lot on labour and materials to make that happen. A member of our Facebook Group (www.facebook.com/groups/118307858251185) recently posted this handy ‘back-of-the-envelope’ guide based on her own build, “My 30 sqm hut using mostly new materials has cost me £17000 (no stove yet) If I hadn't had to fence it against livestock or fix it down I could have saved at least £2000. If I had left off the frills like decking and a canopy over the front, another £2000 at least. The windows are made to measure hardwood , double glazed. If I had used second hand or free doors and windows another £2000. That takes me to £11000. If I had been able to do the work myself or use friends/family,, that could probably be halved again. Lets say £6000. Now reduce the size to 20 instead of 30 sqm (£4000) and source second hand stuff for the main structure. Bingo! You also need to consider the particular site and how you get stuff there. I'm on a farm with access to machinery and drivers.”

HOW CAN I REDUCE THE COST OF HUTTING?

See our guide to affordable hutting at www.thousandhuts.org/?p=822

WILL MY HUT BE LIABLE FOR COUNCIL TAX OR RATES?

We cannot give advice on this as there is variation between local authorities. However, we believe that huts are not liable for Council Tax as they are not dwellings (i.e. you do not live in it year-round). We believe that normally huts are not liable for Rates as their Rateable Value is normally below the threshold. However, if you are concerned about this you should seek advice from your local authority.

WHAT ISSUES SHOULD BE COVERED IN A HUT SITE LEASE?

Our Voluntary Code of Conduct between Hutters and Landowners may help as guidance on some of the issues which should be included in a hut site lease. 

1000 Huts is a project of the charity Reforesting Scotland, which works to restore and support sustainable communities in a well-forested land.

Disclaimer:

The content of this site is supplied as good practice guidance only. It is not an authoritative statement of the law or of the policy and practice of the planning or building standards system at the local, national, or case level. It simply sets out what our contributors believe to be good practice for hut builders in complying with the Scottish Government's new regulatory framework for huts. Anyone considering undertaking a hut development should seek their own legal, planning and building advice. 

 

CONTACT

1000HUTS: 

huts@reforestingscotland.org

REFORESTING SCOTLAND

heartwood@reforestingscotland.org

0131 334 1220

Reforesting Scotland's Registered Office :

39 Corstorphine Hill Avenue,

Edinburgh EH12 6LF

Registered Charity Number SC018032