Planning permission advice for shepherds’ huts and log cabins, yurts and glamping pods

Whether you are planning a single shepherd hut in your garden, or a larger site for camping or glamping pods, you are likely to need some kind of planning permission.

Written By
Lydia Dunne
Published On
December 1, 2023

Helping you to understand planning regulations for glamping

The planning system is notoriously complicated: a mix of policy, law and democracy. Whether you are planning a single shepherd hut in your garden, or a larger site for camping or glamping pods, you are likely to need some kind of planning permission. We help guide you through the ins and outs of obtaining planning permission and explain the 28-day rule.

How do I know if I will require planning permission for my shepherds hut, glamping pods or glamping business?

Many people wonder – do I need planning permission for camping pods or a shepherd’s hut? The answer is almost always yes. Even if it’s just in your back garden, if the hut or pod is going to be a permanent feature, it’s highly likely that you will need to get planning approval.

Broadly speaking glamping proposals fall into the following 3 main categories:

  • Stationing of 1 shepherd hut or unit which complies with the legal definition of a caravan in residential garden
  • Stationing of 1 or more shepherd huts or units which comply with the legal definition of a caravan on agricultural land
  • Glamping site comprising a number of units and/or tents and facilities

If you are going to operate for more than 28 days a year, or if your proposal involves operational development, you will almost certainly need to apply for planning permission.

Planning Permission for Shepherd’s Huts

If you already own a shepherd hut, or are thinking of purchasing one, you may already know that for planning purposes a shepherd hut is a caravan, but what does that mean in practice?

Many glamping units such as shepherd huts, camping pods and some log cabins comply with the legal definition of a caravan as set out in the Caravan Sites Act 1960, but what does that mean in practice?

As with a lot of planning issues, the situation is complex and for these units it depends on a number of factors. The most important issues are: where is the unit and what is it used for?

Beautiful Shepherd's hut - Planning advice for Shepherds Huts and Glamping sites

Broadly speaking, proposals for the stationing of caravans or shepherd’s huts fall into 2 categories:

  1. Stationing of a single shepherd hut or caravan within residential garden to provide overspill living accommodation: If the hut is used in conjunction with the main dwelling and does not provide separate accommodation, planning permission is not required. It is wise, however, to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate to confirm its lawfulness as not all Councils readily accept this. It is necessary to submit a comprehensive case setting out the correct legislation and the precise usage and specifications of the caravan. NB The stationing of these units is not permitted development.
  2. Stationing of a shepherd hut or huts on agricultural land to provide holiday accommodation: This type of proposal does require planning permission as it involves a change of use of land. Glamping projects such as this will need to comply with national and local planning policies and material considerations will be considered.
Planning permission given for Glamping-pod in Dorset Two Hoots

It should be noted that the beauty of a shepherd hut or other caravan stationed in your garden is that it does not require planning permission, nor does it come under Permitted Development. This means that it is possible to create a little more space in places where it might be difficult to achieve planning permission for outbuildings (with sleeping accommodation) such as in AONBs or Conservation Areas. You should always seek professional advice, however, as there are some constraints and criteria that you will have to meet to comply with the legislation.

Whatever your circumstance or plans, be sure to apply for the proper permission or for a Lawful Development Certificate (LDC).

Glamping sites

What is the 28 Day Rule?

In order to open a campsite in the UK, you typically need planning permission and a campsite licence. However, if you are considering running your glamping site for just a short length of time, you may be able to do so under ‘permitted development rights’. The ’28 Day Rule’ allows a landowner to use land for tented camping only without having to get formal planning permission for 28 days in a calendar year.

Very recently the ’28 Day Rule’ has been extended in England only (excludes Scotland, Wales and Ireland) to 60 days. The amendment came into effect on 26th July 2023 and runs concurrently with the existing 28-day rules for one year.

Coppett Hill glamping Churchay lotus belle tent
Coppett Hill Glamping in Dorset

What to consider and include when writing a glamping business planning proposal

Preparing and submitting a planning application for even a small site can be more complicated than it might seem. You will need to consider the following:

Principle

Does your project comply with national and local planning policy? Are proposals for new tourist accommodation in your area generally supported? Is your site farm diversification, expanding an existing business or a new enterprise?

Location

Glamping, by definition, is all about staying in rural locations where guests can enjoy quiet and seclusion. This can be a challenge for planning as new development in the countryside is strictly controlled.

Your site may also be in an area of high landscape sensitivity, such as an AONB, or there may be other special designations that are applicable. Be sure to do your research early on in the process and consider the implications carefully.

You should also consider how holiday makers will reach your site. How well connected is it? Where are the nearest train stations, bus stops, motorways?

Accommodation and facilities

What accommodation you are going to offer? Yurts, bell tents, shepherd huts, camping pods, camping pitches or a mix?

How many glamping pods or units are you proposing? You should also consider how many to apply for in the first instance? Will you apply for a maximum or start with a smaller number and then submit another application once the enterprise is established?

What facilities are you going to provide? Toilets, showers, kitchens, etc. Will this require a new building, conversion or will you site a mobile unit?

You will probably need some lighting so that campers can find their way around after dark, but you may need to provide a lighting plan so that bats and other wildlife are not disturbed.

Access and parking

Working out how visitors will safely enter and exit the site will be a crucial element of your planning application. You will need to work out where the access should be in order to achieve good visibility and the Council will assess whether there is likely to be a significant increase in traffic generated by the proposal. The level of detail required to show the access and parking arrangements is often considerable.

Business and marketing plan

As your proposal is for a new business in a rural location, it is wise to support your application with a detailed Business and Marketing Appraisal. Some Local Plan policies will even require one. This should include a detailed financial breakdown of the project and marketing information. You must also demonstrate that there is a demand for glamping accommodation in your area and that there is not already a good supply of other similar self-catering accommodation.

Barwick Bus glamping planning application

Preparing an application

Your application will most likely be for a change of use of land for the siting of tents or the stationing of shepherd huts and the construction of any shower blocks or car parks, etc. The application should consist of the following documents (as a minimum):

  • Application form
  • Location Plan
  • Site plans
  • Floorplans and elevations
  • Planning Statement
  • Business and Marketing Plan (submit this separately and confidentially if it contains confidential information)
  • You may also require biodiversity or tree surveys


At Whiteacre Planning, we can advise you and help you achieve planning permission for your site or with a LDC. We are based in Somerset, though work both locally and nationally, and offer a free initial consultation.

Call today to discuss setting up a glamping site or shepherd’s hut: 01963 371180 or email whiteacreplanning@gmail.com.

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