Update On Scottish Planning Policy for Huts 

The 1000 Huts Campaign has created a strong platform for new hut developments in Scotland. Significantly, the Scottish Government was persuaded to relax planning policy and building regulations to make hut building easier. This move recognised the benefits hutting can bring to individual lives and communities, as well as to the sometimes impoverished natural environment of Scotland and to the rural economy.

The Scottish Government’s commitment to delivering these benefits was confirmed with inclusion of supportive policy on huts in the 2014 Scottish Planning Policy (SPP). It’s taken time for some planning authorities to respond positively to the new policy framework but increasingly, the concept of hutting is understood. The principle of granting planning permission is now established, subject to wider policy considerations and site specific details. 

It’s been helpful to be able to quote SPP in support of planning applications. However, there’s an updated policy document from the Scottish Government we need to be aware of. The good news is that it just updates the position of huts and is equally supportive.

The new document is National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4). The updated Scottish planning policy is now embedded in this document. The NPF4 Glossary contains the same definition of a hut as set out previously in SPP:

‘A simple building used intermittently as recreational accommodation (ie. 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 it life. Huts may be built singly or in groups.

NPF4 mentions huts in Policy 30, relating to Tourism. It states:

‘Proposals for huts will be supported where the nature and scale of the development is compatible with the surrounding area and the proposal complies with relevant good practice guidance’.

The relevant good practice guidance is the Reforesting Scotland publication ‘New Hutting Developments’, available on the 1000 Huts website https://www.thousandhuts.org/. The document has not yet been updated to include the NPF4 content. However, if you’re making a planning application, you can use the wording above to support your proposal and set in in the context of current Scottish Government planning policy.

Note that NPF4 includes other wider policy on relevant issues such as woodland, biodiversity, flood risk and so on. It’s worth having a look through the document to ensure your proposal is as responsive as possible. As previously, you can also check for local planning policies by searching Council and National Park websites for their Local Development Plans (LDPs). Most LDPs now have policy covering huts.

You can also search for planning applications for huts on the same websites. You’ll find examples of applications others have submitted and can see what documents are required. There should be no need to reinvent the wheel with your planning application!

Richard Heggie

Director, Urban Animation

15 April 2024

Categories: News