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A guide to UK log building planning permission

Some, but not all, log buildings require planning permission under current UK building regulations based largely on the size and intended use of the proposed structure. The good news is that generally you do not need planning permission for mobile log cabins or home offices depending on how you plan to use them.


For everything else here’s our guide to getting planning permission for your project.

Do I need planning permission for my log cabin?

If you are planning to live in your cabin as a primary residence or rent it out as a holiday let then yes, you will be required to secure planning permission before work can begin. Despite not being permanent residences, holiday lets are classed as commercial properties and therefore subject to planning approval. Similarly, if your home office has self-contained amenities such as bathroom and laundry facilities that mean you could realistically live in it long term, and/or if it is not built within the curtilage of your main property, you will most likely be required to secure permission first. But do not worry - we’ve been through this process many times before and are here to help!

The inside of a log home showing wood burning stove and homely atmosphere
Inside a hand-built British Log Cabins home

What do I need to secure planning permission?

In order to satisfy the planners and ensure a smooth process you will need the following:

  • Certificate of land or property ownership

  • Site plans showing the proposed development in its surrounding context

  • Scale drawings including floor plans and elevations

  • Standard application form

  • Application fee

  • Any other documents or requirements as requested by your local planning authority (LPA)

It is worth noting that in addition to the general national requirements listed above your LPA may require additional supporting documents. We therefore recommend checking with your local planning department for their specific requirements before submitting your application.


Can BLC help me with my application?

Yes, we are here to help you navigate what can be a daunting planning process and have done so successfully with many clients in the past! Our in-house architectural team will work with you to draw up the site and property plans that you will need as part of your application - our design service comes with unlimited revisions to ensure the plans we draw up match those in your head. And because the whole process is managed under one roof, your initial scale drawings will go on to form the basis of those that our team of log builders will use to complete your new cabin, taking construction method and building methodology into account from the outset. This ensures a smooth, seamless process from start to finish, attention to detail throughout and assistance at every step of the way.


We can also put you in touch with some expert planning consultants who we have worked successfully with in the past to help you finalise your application submission.

Head to our Design Studio for more details and design inspiration.

Do I need planning permission for mobile cabins?

If located in a private garden, mobile cabins (those built on a chassis such that they can easily be moved from one location to another) are, for the most part, considered the same as caravans for which you do not need planning permission. The exceptions to this rule are when the cabin is intended for use as anything other than a simple ancillary annex (such as a games room, summer house or occasional guest room) to your main residence, if you intend to hire it out for a fee or if your property deeds forbid the siting of a caravan. There may also be local restrictions depending on the proximity of your intended cabin to a shared boundary, concerns over access or whether you intend to host regular visitors (e.g. customers) that may also impact your neighbours.


Similarly, if you intend to place your mobile cabin on agricultural land you must obtain planning approval first so either way it is worth having a conversation with your LPA (and probably your neighbours!) to ensure you don’t run into problems further down the line.


Needless to say, there are footprint and elevation considerations to take into account under the definition of ‘caravan’ but all our mobile log cabins are designed specifically to meet these requirements and ensure you do not fall foul of permitted development laws.


The outside of a small hand-built British Log Cabins cabin
Log cabins can be designed & hand-built in a range of sizes

Do garden offices need planning approval?

As with mobile cabins above, home garden offices of certain dimensions and function are generally permitted without requiring prior planning permission. This is particularly true if you only intend to use the office for ‘incidental’ work as opposed to running a business that attracts customers (such as a beautician would). And also that you do not intend to sleep in it! Our home offices have been carefully designed to ensure they meet all general garden office approval requirements such as footprint, energy efficiency and fire safety.


I’m dreaming of a cabin in the woods. What do I need to know?

We’re all dreaming of a cabin in the woods too! However, as with all permanent residential dwellings, if you are intending to live in your cabin for more than 28 days a year, or to rent it out as a holiday let, then you will require planning permission. There are specific requirements around siting any structure within woodlands particularly if Tree Preservation Orders exist and if the primary use of the structure is not for the purposes of the upkeep of the forest itself (such as a tool shed for forestry equipment). However, there have certainly been successful applications for residential log cabins in woodland settings, so speak to your LPA or one of our recommended planning consultants first.


How long does planning permission take?

Most planning decisions are made within eight weeks although this may be extended to 13 weeks for larger or more complex plans. Bear in mind that if your application is rejected or approved only subject to certain modification conditions, you will need to make adjustments to your application and resubmit it for consideration. Your LPA should be open to discussion to help you understand the reasons for any changes or rejection and it would be worthwhile having an pre-planning conversation with them if you know of any reason your application may not be approved at the first time of asking.


Again and if in doubt, we recommend speaking to your local planning authority (and those all-important neighbours) or carefully reading the deeds to your property, as well as local restrictions before embarking on siting a home office in your garden.


If it turns out that what you are planning does require permission, then our team is here to help with architectural scale drawings [back link] and plans that you will need. We can also put you in touch with some great planning consultants should you wish.


Summary

In short, if you are planning to live in your log cabin or make money from it, you're going to need planning permission. If you're just planning to use your cabin as an extension to your own home then you may not, assuming it is within certain size and location limits. If in doubt, speak to a qualified planner. And your neighbours!


Useful links

https://www.planningportal.co.uk

https://www.britishlogcabins.com/design-studio



DISCLAIMER: The information given above is provided in good faith and is intended as a general overview of the UK planning permission process as of April 2021. This information should not be used as a definitive guide to UK law, an alternative to the formal planning processes nor as a guarantee that a proposed structure will be approved or denied planning approval in a given location. It remains the responsibility of the client to ensure that all the necessary permissions are in place before embarking on a build.



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