Disclaimer! This article is for general guidance only. We are not planning specialists, but have put this information together to help customers try to determine whether they will need to apply for planning permission or not. If you are at all unsure, you should seek expert help.
Like many things in life, the answer is; it depends. Mostly on the huts intended use, whether for personal enjoyment or commercial purposes.
If the shepherd’s hut is to be sited at a residential address ie. in your back garden and for your own personal use, then you likely won’t need planning permission.
However, if the hut is to be used to make money, whether at your home or on commercial land such as a camp site, then you will most certainly require planning permission. Even then, there are exemptions you can get that allow you to forgo planning altogether. Read on for more information…
Building a Shepherd's Hut for Personal Use
Are you considering building a shepherd’s hut at home as a home office or as a tranquil escape from everyday life? If so, the good news is that you’re very unlikely to require planning permission as your build could fall under ‘permitted development’.
What is ‘permitted development’?
Classed by the government as ‘permitted development rights for householders’, these rules govern what you can do with your residential property without requiring planning permission. Like any other garden building (sheds, summerhouses, cabins etc.) the government classes a shepherds hut as an outbuilding and you can read all about the permitted development rights for these here: gov.uk permitted development guidelines.
In summary, these are the permitted development guidelines that apply to a Glampods shepherds hut:
- The building must have a ‘purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse’. In other words, the Shepherds Hut should be for private enjoyment by you and your family.
- ‘Any part of the building, enclosure, pool or container would be situated on land forward of a wall forming the principal elevation of the original dwellinghouse’. The hut can not be sited anywhere past the front face of your house. Back or side gardens only!
- Your shepherd’s hut should not be sited within 2 metres of your property’s boundary, else your building will be limited to a maximum height of 2.5 metres. (Our shepherd huts are 3.2M from the ground to the highest point. Even with our lowered axles option, which bring the hut down to a height of 2.9M, the hut will still be too tall to be sited within 2m of your boundary and still fall under permitted development).
- If your hut will be sited 2 metres or further from your property’s boundary, the following height restrictions apply:
- The height of the eaves (sides of roof) can not be higher than 2.5M. (The eaves of your glampods shepherds hut will be 2.4M)
- With a dual-pitched roof, the highest point of the roof may not be more than 4M from the ground. (Our huts are a maximum of 3.2M so well within the height allowed.)
- Under permitted development, you are not allowed to cover more than 50% of the property (excluding the main dwelling house) in exterior buildings. To calculate this, you would need to measure all of the land surrounding your property not including the main dwellinghouse, then calculate the footprint of any existing buildings, sheds, summerhouses etc. Add to this the footprint of the new shepherd’s hut. If the combined footprint would take up more than 50% of the total curtilage, your new hut would not be allowed under permitted development and you’d need to apply for planning permission. This problem could of course be easily remedied by removing any old and unwanted structures to make room.
Some residential properties may automatically be excluded from permitted development rights. Properties most likely to be affected, would be those inside or that are classed as:
- Conservation areas
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
- National Parks
- The Broads
- World Heritage Sites
- Listed Buildings
If any of these categories apply to your property, unless you are absolutely sure that you have the usual permitted development rights, you should seek expert guidance.
Building a Shepherd’s Hut to Make Money
If you intend to make money from your shepherd’s hut, whether it be one hut in your back garden, or you’re wanting to turn a piece of agricultural land into a glamping site, you will need permission of some sort.
Permitted development rights do not include buildings for commercial use, and therefore you will need to seek planning guidance and most likely permission.
It is not the shepherd’s huts themselves that need permission, it is the ‘change of use’ of the land from domestic or agricultural to commercial.
There are however, some organisations that may be able to issue you with an exemption certificate, which would let you rent out shepherd’s huts without requiring planning permission:
Information on their website is a little sparse so get in touch with them for details, but you can apply to have any number of huts on your land and they will assess you based on the available land, ease of access, proximity to neighbours and your available facilities. Being part of their club doesn’t limit you to only renting to Freedom Camping Club members, meaning you can hire your shepherd’s huts to anyone from any booking platform.
This club awards exemption certificates to environmentally friendly campsites and glamping sites. Their criteria is rather strict and so far they only have around 120 campsites, but if you’re wanting to run a more exclusive glamping site, with a focus on quality and environmental sustainability, then this club could be for you. You’ll only be allowed to rent to Greener Camping members, so keep this in mind.
This club will allow you to have up to five glamping units and ten tents. You can only rent your shepherd’s huts to Woodland Champions members, but membership is free. As with the other organisations, they have basic criteria to meet such as good access, facilities and they’ll also take the volume and proximity of neighbours into account.
It’s important to note, that these campsite exemption organisations can only exempt you from having to get planning permission for the huts themselves. Any facilities you’d need such as showers, toilets and washing-up areas would either need to be temporary structures such as composting toilets and off-grid showers which can be easily moved at short notice, otherwise you’ll end up having to get planning permission for these new buildings or apply for a change of use for an existing building to create the facilities you require.
We hope this article has helped to give you some guidance. If you are in any way unsure of what permissions you need, if any, then please seek professional advice or contact your local council’s planning department.