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    Hello to everybody.
    This is my first post here and I would very much appreciate your help and advice.

    I would like to hear from anybody who has managed to obtain planning permission to build a log cabin on thier own plot of land (not a park or site).
    Our local planning aurthority (Macclesfield-Cheshire) has told me that planning permission would be unlikely for such a venture, even though they were, in principle, agreable to my "verbal" plans when I discussed it with them. I'm looking to buy a secluded plot of land, somewhere quiet , totally screen the cabin from view and employ as much renewable energy sources as possible. Thier argument was that they didn't want to open the flood gates and have "shacks" springing up every where.
    As a childless couple, all we're looking fo is peace and quiet. We dont want a large property as we simply dont need or want one, it would just be a waste. To us, a log cabin is the ideal answer. I've found lots of companies on the net who sell them, either as self build or complete, but so far I've not found ANY references what so ever about people who've managed to build them on thier own land as a 12 month residential dwelling. I simply can't believe that we are the first to attempt this?

    Any help and advise would be very much appreciated.


    Paul & ffiona.
    • CommentAuthordickster
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2008
    Hi Paul & Fiona,

    We bought our dream 2 years ago. Described as a plot of land with planning permission, it is actually a mobile home that over the years has been enclosed, extended and had a fireplace and chimney added. The previous owner spent years getting planning permission and appealed to the highest authority to get it through.

    The point is, even the impossible can become possible!

    Good luck.
    • CommentAuthorecologist7
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2008

    First post for me too!

    I have done some research into planning law myself recently. I have an ongoing planning issue here regarding various stables and a concrete yard that were erected over many years by various previous owners. Gwynedd Council, served an enforcement notice on the last occupier for breach of planning control, which I inherited from them. The council - in their wisdom - have told me to remove the stables (now used as storage sheds for a fledgling organic horticultural enterprise) and the large concrete yard... then re-apply for planning permission for a new concrete yard and sheds !!! (Doh!! as Homer Simpson might say!)

    I am standing my ground and prepared to battle in court if needed to retain these for agricultural use, and am in the process of 'compromising' with them, having removed the more unsightly stables but keeping the fancy modern ones, and am in the process of landscaping/tree planting etc to reduce the visible impact.

    Anyway, I have found this group called Chapter 7 to be very helpful especially a bloke called Simon Fairlie who has published a great book for people in your/our predicament


    Their website is absolutely packed full of information:


    I see they have produced a DIY Planning Handbook also, which I have not seen yet.

    One option for yourselves might be to purchase (wood)land and set up a charcoal making business; the small kilns require 24 hr attention and I believe that there have been some planning precedents made with regard to people using caravans and/or building accomodation on site to facilitate this. There are also grants to establish new woods and tax benefits related to woodland enterprises. I believe there have also been some successful low impact planning developments regarding people practising permaculture in the U.K. which is - if you don't already know it - an incredible design science for good site design with some great guides available e.g.

    The Earth Care Manual (ISBN: 185623021X)
    Whitefield, Patrick

    ... and Bill Mollisons handbooks to name a few

    I hope this helps with your project - changing the planning system to facilitate low impact development is crucial to green building in the U.K.

    Best wishes

    • CommentAuthorStuartB
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2008

    You need to read your council's policies inside out to determine what may be allowable. Check out particularly their housing in the countryside/rural housing policy and any pilot eco community project policies. You won't be able to build a log cabin in an area that is inapropriate e.g next to a row of 1930 semis. However if you can find a plot with OPP/DPP that is surrounded by woodland then there is no reason why you won't have a chance with a log cabin style as this would be entirely in keeping with the setting.
    • CommentAuthorBluemoon
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2008
    Building a high-quality log home is my aim as well. I have joined the Honka forum, http://www.honka.fr/eu/uk/forum.php
    lots of advice there, but I've found plots where I couldn't build a wooden house, but persevere and try to fit in with the neighbours's style.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2008
    First off saying you want to build a "sustainable" or "low impact" house doesn't really help when it comes to getting PP for a new house in the countryside. The planners will argue that _all_ houses have to be sustainable these days or they aren't allowed. Obviously their definition of sustainable or low impact isn't allways the same as yours.

    The are various schemes that allow people to build on site if they need to live near their agricultural busines but the rules are very strict. Typically they require you to show that the business is viable by producing a business plan and that no alternative exists. In some areas they make your PP conditional on the business continuing to survive and make money. If it fails they can make you knock the house down.

    Generally it's very difficult to get PP on a green field site. Consider looking for a knockdown and rebuild oportunity or a building that might be converted. Two books are worth reading. "How to find and buy a Building Plot" and "How to get Planning Permission" both by Roy Speer and others. Published by Stonepound Books and on Amazon last time I looked.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2008
    Sorry if you know this but you should be aware of and avoid the scam merchants that buy up fields, divide them into plots and sell them off as "investment land" or "land soon to be released for development". The land may look cheap - for a plot but it will be expensive for a field.
    hi my company "the bespoke log cabin company" build log cabins classed as mobile homes, you can have up to 20m long x 6.8m wide x 4m high with 3 or 4 bedrooms, check out our website www.bespokelogcabincompany.co.uk
    It is not normally the cabin that requires planning perm but the use of the cabin, our product only requires residential use of a mobile home if you wish to live in your cabin all year round.
    If you want to live in any type of building as your main residence the you will need residential perm on the piece of land, this is hard to obtain as a rule unless it is a building plot in a village and then the planners like the new dwelling to match the existing housing stock (there are not many log cabins in this country).
    We have found that the planners like mobile cabins as they are not deamed perminant but in reality they will last for 100's of years if maintained properly. Once you have permission for a mobile home for residential use then the council are normally happy with our product as it looks far better in the country than a metal box with a flat roof.
    To gain change of use on a piece of land is the tricky part, the council like to see justification, keeping horses does not cut the mustard but i have seen farming some types of fowl or alpacas work, you will need to provide 3 yrs audited accounts to prove you are not playing at farming. Any more questions i can be contacted via my website, good luck!
    It comes back to the same problem, a nice secluded plot of land can be often be bought at agricultural land prices (£7,000 per acre?)
    The same plot of land with the benefit of Planning Permission is worth hundreds of thousands.
    There are policies in some areas (such as some parts of Wales, I believe) for low-impact sustainable development for people who want to live off the land, but even those policies are extremely tight.
    Look at the trouble Tony Wrench has had:
    (my favourite house)

    There are not any policies supporting this sort of lifestyle in Macclesfield (now Cheshire East)
    and even if they were, would you fit the policy? or still want to commute by car to work in Manchester but live in nice cheap house in a lovely spot?
    (I'm not judging you, I am sure this is many peoples dream.)

    There are ways and means of achieving what you are after, but they involve being well informed or advised, and a heck of a lot of patience and even more risk.

    The problem planners have with your proposal is not the design or size of your log cabin, or how sustainable or low-impact or low carbon the house or your lifestyle is; but the principle in itself of new residential development in the open countryside or Green Belt.
    The excuse is that the Location is not sustainable if it is the wrong side of a line on a map, which quite frankly is B*****ks because you can build a house in one town and drive hundreds of miles to work, shop, fly around the world on holiday, and burn fossils fuels like there's no tomorrow.

    Personally I think sustainability is more about lifestyle than location, and the planners have no statutory control over lifestyle choices.

    Best bet is to buy a wreck to do up (as long as it has not been abandoned, but that's another story...) or try and get permission to build a log cabin holiday let so you can go there whenever you like.
    • CommentAuthorCliff Pope
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2009
    Get together with about 50 other people, buy the land, and then move in over a bank holiday weekend while the council are all on holiday. Make sure you get all the roads laid, septic tanks etc installed, and have lots of children and dependants who would become the council's responsibility if evicted. Learn up about European human rights legislation.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2009
    It helps if you are a traveller. Government advice is that such sites are "an acceptable part of the countryside". You would certainly be allowed a mobile log cabin.
    • CommentAuthorCliff Pope
    • CommentTimeMay 28th 2009
    I didn't say that. Uk Plc is an equal opportunities employer. Applications are welcome from everyone regardless of race or background.
    • CommentAuthorglerwill
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2009
    Alright - devil's advocate - try and get planning permission for 2 'holiday homes' which is a 'business' and move from one to the other to comply with dates?
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2009
    I am not so sure about UK PLC being "equal" only this week a plot of land near Bristol was bought by people of a wandering nature and many caravans put on site with a view to a "home site" being made for up to 80 caravans and the council granted them permission despite thousands of objectors. The site is greenbelt and many people over the years have tried to get planning for family homes in the area with no success. I may be labelled a cynic but I believe that these "human rights laws" mainly seem to apply to those that want to buck the system.
    • CommentAuthorcontadino
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
    I keep hearing that there is a law in the UK that allows you to build on a site if your job is the on-site production of charcoal. Couple this with a permaculture/coppiced woodland gardening/biochar production/self-sufficiency, and you're looking at an ideal loophole in the law to exploit in order to live sustainably without the ridiculous hurdle of planning laws/land costs. I'm not sure how true this is, but it's maybe worth researching a bit.
    I have the opportunity of purchasing a redundant reservoir. Would I need planning permission to moor my canal boat on my own land. The comment from the council has been to get permission from British Waterways but I cannot see why I would need their permission.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009
    Posted By: contadinoI keep hearing that there is a law in the UK that allows you to build on a site if your job is the on-site production of charcoal. Couple this with a permaculture/coppiced woodland gardening/biochar production/self-sufficiency, and you're looking at an ideal loophole in the law to exploit in order to live sustainably without the ridiculous hurdle of planning laws/land costs. I'm not sure how true this is, but it's maybe worth researching a bit.

    This site..
    ..suggests planning permission maybe required _just_ for the charcoal burning let alone living on site...

    It says it's unclear if charcoal burning is an "ancillary use" of agricultiral/forestry land or if it's an "industrial use" requiring planning permission.

    I suspect what you are thinking of is the so called agricultural workers justification. To come under this you have to show that the business you plan to operate fron the site requires you to live on the site. The rules for this vary and can be very tough. For example...

    If there are houses a mile away you will probably have to show why living in one of them won't do. You can argue that none are for sale but you may have to show that none have come on the market for several years.

    It's not uncommon for the planners to want to see a business plan that shows the business generating enough income to support scale of development proposed. For example if you want to build a 5 bed detached house the business may have to generate enough income to support a family with 2/3 children.

    Even if you win permission, sometimes they make it temporary for 4 years subject to you meeting the business plan. if the business fails they can make you knock the house down!

    See also this site..


    Residential use

    You will not be surprised to hear it is extremely unusual to get planning permission for a dwelling in a wood. There have been a few successful cases, for instance involving charcoal burners in West Sussex and Hertfordshire, where a full-time forester has been allowed to build a cabin or site a caravan. In such cases, there are stringent test of business viability and functional need applied to an enterprise, so if you are managing your woodland for primarily recreational or conservation reasons, permission would almost certainly be denied.

    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJun 29th 2009 edited
    Posted By: renewablejohnI have the opportunity of purchasing a redundant reservoir. Would I need planning permission to moor my canal boat on my own land. The comment from the council has been to get permission from British Waterways but I cannot see why I would need their permission.

    I'm sure planning permission will be required for a residential mooring. Google found...


    It is possible to moor a houseboat on your own land, but you will need to obtain planning permission if you are changing the use from a cruising mooring to a residential mooring.

    If the site is on a canal or waterway you will also need permission from British Waterways, while the Crown Estate grants consent if the mooring is on the coast.


    Houseboats fall outside of planning control unless moored for so long in the same place that they can be regarded as bringing about a material change of use of land. The permanent mooring of a boat for residential purposes where there was not one previously is likely to be a material change of use of land and planning permission would, therefore, generally be required. Similarly, works associated with the mooring of the boat might require planning permission if they amount to operational development. Ultimately, it is for the local planning authority to decide whether planning permission is required.

    There are no specific permitted development rights for houseboats. No specific national planning policy guidance has been published in respect of houseboats or riverside development.
    • CommentAuthorCliff Pope
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2009
    You could have a swinging mooring just off-shore. Make sure the purchase agreement includes ownership of the mooring rights, and then you could grant yourself a licence.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 2nd 2009
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Cliff Pope</cite>You could have a swinging mooring just off-shore. </blockquote>

    Seems they are ok unless "engineering works" are required. So lowering an concrete block or anchor is ok but driving a pile wouldn't be.
    • CommentAuthorDavidD
    • CommentTimeFeb 9th 2010
    Hi Paul,
    Before you decide to get a Log cabin kit please contact me as I am a member of the (LHBA) Log Home Builders Association and I feel I could help you. I am not trying to get money out of you just give you some advice if you would like it.

    Take a look at our web site LHBA (Log Home builders association

    • CommentAuthorlance66
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2010
    We have just recieved planning permission to build a timber clad house by the fishing lake we run.But it has taken seven years several applications and eventually going to appeal before we won.Thats despite the busines covering two full time workers for the last three years and a reasonable turnover.We had to get profesionals in to help us get permission at a cost of £15000.
    So you can get planning but expect a long fight and to spend a lot of money in the process.
    • CommentAuthorDavidD
    • CommentTimeFeb 10th 2010
    Hi Lance Take a look at this web site and tell me what you think.


    I am a member of the LHBA (Log Home Builders Association) and I am trying to find out if there are many people in the UK that are interested in building a real Log Home or holiday let of the LHBA type. (Butt N Pass)
    These are not log cabin kits and last hundreds of years but still are not so expensive.

    The home you have planning for, what made you decide on the type you have?

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