Building on wheels is one way to show the temporary/mobile nature of a building in planning terms. Kevin’s chassis has been extended and beefed up with welded angle iron courtesy of Will. It sits on four legs like mini acro props, which we used to get the building level. These legs rest on a pad of type 1 hardcore, tamped down. The whole thing sits in a hole which we dung to lower the the shed profile and to get onto a subsoil foundation.
Planning is a thorny issue. On the positive side it is good that it exists. We are a densely populated country and enjoy our countryside. On the negative side it does not prevent some of the worst development atrocities because at the bottom line is GDP and jobs. I.e. if development is good for the economy it must be good for the land and for us. Also it is a blunt instrument wielded by people un-able to distinguish between genuine sustainable development and speculative cashing in for uplift value. Little provision is made to recognise low-impact development or to support residences for small-scale rural livelihoods. This is now starting to change in Wales thanks to the campaigning work of chapter 7.
Where does this leave shed building? Well in our gardens or allotments generally unless you are a seasonal agricultural worker. Within one’s garden you can build what ever you like provided; you are not living in it, it is 1m from your boundary, less than 3 or 4 mtrs high and not taking up more than a certain % of your total site. Check details with local council.
In many other countries where the culture of ‘hutting’ is still alive large number of people have a retreat hut in open countryside or wilderness. Not so long ago people were still doing this in Scotland. See Reforesting Scotland’s brilliant 1000 huts campaign, link below. Everyone, not just the wealthy need a connection to the natural world, an escape, a place to ‘be’. Increasing since the enclosures and the town and country planning act, most of us rural, post industrial workers only have the possibility of wild camping.
If you own a piece of land or have access to someone else’s there are a few bits of planning guidance that allow certain limited exceptions. These can be further researched through some of the links below.
• Low Impact Development – Book on Planning by Simon Fairlie
• Diy-planning-handbook – http://www.tlio.org.uk/chapter7/diy-planning-handbook/
• 1000 huts campaign – http://www.thousandhuts.org/
• Successful low-impact self build community in Wales – http://www.lammas.org.uk/
• Oganisation helping to establish new build rural livelihoods – http://ecologicalland.coop/
• The most up to date and informative magazine about land rights – http://www.tlio.org.uk/chapter7/publications
• Ways to live rurally without building your own hut – http://www.wwoof.org.uk/
• Winstanley, a film about land rights and the life and times of Gerard Winstanley. – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073911/