Hi all, I have submitted my planning application for a hut in the West highlands. The case officer has changed the description to 'erection of a residential unit'. I have tried to explain that I think this is incorrect and why, but the reply is that 'as this hut is to be used for recreational accommodation then this is a residential unit'. Should I just accept this, or would it be better to argue further to try to have it described as a hut? My application falls 100% within the hut definition. I am worried that planning approval for 'a residential unit' would less likely be approved. Also had an issue about the fee, they first asked to pay £400 but are now willing to accept £202 'if I am not going to be putting any cooking facilities within the building'. Any advice or thoughts are appreciated!
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Looking good. Great to see another hut taking shape especially after a bit of a long haul. Good luck and lets have lots more photos
After building the frame kit for our hut in 2021 and bringing it to the site we had to put all work on hold suddenly due to family circumstances. Just picked it up again now and started building, luckily there were not many rotten bits to be replaced. Posting some pictures of our progress so far. The bit in the back that is still open will be split in 2 for a toilet and small shed, the whole structure will be timber clad (no osb in the back bit as it doesn't need insulation)
Well done. Post lots of photos of progress.
Ahh, that's great news.
Hi Frugaldom, that's great news! Looking forward to hearing about how the build phase goes.
@richard My planning finally came through! 😀 I guess it's now the fun starts, what with workloads, backlogs, material shortages and prices of most things through the roof.
The frame of the hut is ready to be built but we won't have time this summer to do it. I will probably post some pictures on the 1000 huts fb page once we get some progress, but that may still be a while.
I submitted the application around the 15th of December and it was approved on the 11th of February.
Brilliant news! Congratulations. How long, in total, did it take your planning department to pass your application, if you don't mind my asking here?
Thanks Richard and Lorna :-)
That's great news Kune and thanks for sharing your experience. Have a great time building your Hut and spending time there with family.
Congratulations and well done. Enjoy your hut.
So we got our planning permission through and the hut ‘kit’ is being made in our garden, to be transported and assembled at the hut site whenever we find the time. The plot is one of these old water tank sites, a quarter of an acre of moorland with an underground concrete water tank. We went to have a quick look at it just before lockdown in spring last year. I wasn’t really considering buying it at that time (mostly because the driving distance from our house is a bit further than I wanted), just went out of curiosity. It was for sale for £16,000 at the time (auction site). I liked the site even though I only saw it briefly and it is located approx 80 meters from the roadside (uphill). I thought about it a lot when back home and realised that the location is really handy (and really beautiful): within walking/cycling distance from a woodland, from the seashore, and from the village. Also not long after that the asking price was reduced to £12,000. As we were in lockdown I knew there would be no other interest any time soon (it had also been for sale for long) and I offered £9000, which was about the maximum I was willing to pay. The first reply was that the owner would not sell for less than £10,000 but I kept to my offer and it was accepted.
The planning application went quite straightforward (thanks to the work of the 1000 hut campaign obviously!), planning details can be viewed on the highland council planning website: 20/04872/FUL
The process was ok. Though they first insisted on calling the hut a residential unit they later decided to call it a bothy (which it isn’t) but all the same, they accepted it. There are a few restrictions which I find perfectly fine: I (my family) are the only people allowed to use it, maximum of 3 months cumulative in a calendar year, and if it would not be used for over a year it needs to be removed from site. The main issue was parking, they kept asking me where I would park a car but I just replied them every time that I would park in the public car park in the village or come by bus. There is the possibility of parking by the roadside for loading/unloading though I would only use that briefly when really needed and did not mention it in the application. I found the planning process fine, it’s just a matter of keeping it simple and being clear about your ideas (making sure they fit in the hut definition obviously), and if necessary repeating the same several times as the planning application goes through different hands and they may all ask you the same or similar questions.
So the advice I can give from my experience is that finding a site is partly about considering all options. We will have to drag all the timber, roofing and everything else up the hill a bit but that’s just a matter of taking the time to do it and it is worth it. Also it is useful to consider sites that have been for sale for a while (you may be able to take quite a bit off the asking price) or that you would not normally consider (you may discover a gem, as I did). And dealing with planning permission does not necessarily have to be a huge worry. If you are building just 1 hut following the hutting guidelines and making the design small and considerate enough I think you have a good chance of approval.
A huge thank you to the people here who work on the 1000 huts campaign, the website has been very helpful!
Thanks, and I agree: sharing experiences can be very helpful to others. My application is now being looked at as a residential hut (though I just described it as a small wooden hut), which is ok I guess, better than a ‘unit’. I managed to get it through with the lower fee, I confirmed that I would not install cooking facilities. It did take explaining a few times, every person in the planning office through whose hands my application passed wrote me the same again: 1. that I should pay the full fee & 2. that I needed to include my parking area on my site plan (I explained several times that there will only be pedestrian access - car access is impossible). But they accepted it eventually so it’s just a matter of politely explaining as many times as needed. When (if!) my application is granted I will share some more information about my project :-)
Yes, mutual support is helpful and also shows others what's needed. You probably know that you can find some correspondence for the East Lothian applications (assuming this is Bolton Muir?) on the Council's online planning application files but they don't seem to be fully updated. I've already advised one of the plot owners there to work together with others to ensure the strongest and best co-ordinated case for huts at that location. Interesting to see you suggest the Planner is likely to approve - from what I've seen they're taking. fairly tough line, as is often the case with development in East Lothian's countryside.
Totally agree, the idea of having a Hut defined in planning policy is supposed to make it easier, unfortunately it seems those of us who are in the forefront of this will have to take the brunt of being the champions and explainers! There's a Hut application currently with East Lothian Planning Department in the wood we're going to build in. I understand the Planner will approve but currently local residents have lodged complaints, not sure on what basis and trying to find out. And I've been advised that since as you say it's totally off grid they should not need to know what's inside. Would be good to continue to compare notes as support each other where we can.
Maybe you've answered this yourself already. In planning terms, as you say, a HUT is defined in SPP, so it should be called a HUT in the planning application. It's typically off grid but cooking facilities should be irrelevant - could be a wood burning stove, or any portable camping appliance. You could tell them there will not be a 'cooker'.