DO I NEED PLANNING PERMISSION FOR MY NEW SHEPERD HUT?
Edward at Heaven’s Gate Shepherd Huts has asked if I can answer this question to help his many customers, and whilst I’m delighted to try and provide some clarity, it really does matter what the intended use is and where it will be sited. Each case really is individual.
Some huts do require permission, and some don’t. If you have a hut for domestic use and it’s positioned in the curtilage of a domestic garden and is very much an ‘extra’ to the main building (as in, not a self contained property), you’re less likely to require permission. Provided your property has permitted development rights, you may be justified in siting, what is effectively a garden building, for "personal and incidental use to the enjoyment of the property". The use of your garden and the residential planning unit as a whole does not change.
If the use is different, it’s outside the curtilage of the garden, or if you’re in an area like a National Park, AONB, SSSI, Conservation Area, or if your house is a listed building, it is likely there are other considerations to be taken into account, and professional advice is best obtained on a case by case basis.
To continue more positively though, examples where a hut is used as a garden room, home office, studio or spare bedroom for family or personal, non-paying guests should be straight forward. However, as said this is not always guaranteed, as various factors may prevent you from doing this locationally. If you are unsure, you should seek advice, and for complete peace of mind it is possible to apply to the Local Planning Authority for a "Certificate of Lawful Use", which essentially proves that you have the right to place a hut in your garden, without the need for planning permission.
Please don’t assume that as the shepherd hut’s structure is on wheels and is potentially portable there is no need for planning permission. This is no basis to assess the need for permission. It's got nothing to do with the hut being on wheels, or whether it's attached to the ground or any utilities. It's more to do with where you site your hut and what you use it for, as it would be for a caravan.
Any change of use of the land (other than a garden) that the hut stands on will, in all likelihood need planning permission. A change of use can include the intensification of a property, resulting from the introduction of a new and self-contained residential unit. Renting out your hut on Airbnb for instance (other
short stay platforms are of course available), to all intents and purposes creates a separate residential unit, subdividing the original and triggers the need for planning permission. In the event that the hut has all the facilities for day to day living (toilet, washing and cooking) even use as a ‘Granny Annex’ could create a new chapter of use in excess of simply providing an incidental spare bedroom.
Simon Chambers B.Sc (Hons) MA MRTPI