Buying some land and living on it.

Anything to do with environmental building projects.
caithnesscrofter
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Post: #59607 caithnesscrofter
Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:20 am

I don't know what happened to the original poster... but, I am basically going about doing the same hing. Except, I only plan to live in my yurt for a few years whilst I build. I believe planning is hella strict in the realm of "low impact dwellings". Dumb but, true. Not entirely sure about England and Wales but, here in Scotland you can forget living in any type of temporary structure like a yurt long term unless it is extremely remote. Even here in the Highlands nevermind the lowlands. But, yea, you are allowed a caravan so I would assume also a yurt or tipi in the "curtilage of a house" if you can get planning for a house and build a house if you were to split a plot with someone you'd prolly get away wi it.

Now, on a croft. You are required to live within 14 km. of your croft or under crofting law the crofters commission can force you to take a tenant who would then in turn have the right to buy your owner occupied croft. So, they kinda canna deny you planning permission on a croft. It is also permitted development to live in alternative accomodation whilst you build a house. There is also permittted development in the scheme of "temporary structures" and temporary dwellings for seasonal, agricultural, forestry workers. It's quite complex. There is a charity in Scotland called "planning aid Scotland" should be a similiar outfit in E & W. They are a great help.

Every planning authority has their own interpretation of what category a yurt comes under so try to find out what your local authorities definition of "structure" and "tent" is.

In the meantime, I will keep you posted on how we get on! :-)

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Post: #59610 Muddypause
Fri Jun 01, 2007 12:43 am

caithnesscrofter wrote:It is also permitted development to live in alternative accomodation whilst you build a house.

Is that just on a croft, or is it generally the case in Scotland? Jolly sensible idea.

There is a charity in Scotland called "planning aid Scotland" should be a similiar outfit in E & W. They are a great help.

That's interesting to hear. A few years ago I went up north and had a look around parts of Scotland for a place to call my own. I heard about Planning Aid For Scotland, but never heard of anybody who had dealt with them. Do they deal with ordinary people at base level, making applications for simple housing, or are they really for more complicated things? As it's a charity, is it a free service?

Not heard of anything similar in the rest of the UK, but be glad to hear of something.
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Thanks for the comments

Post: #59785 Yurty
Fri Jun 01, 2007 3:54 pm

Hello again, I'm still here.

Thanks for all the great replies. It's all kind of confirmed my worst fears :cry: about trying to do something like this but I will try to chase up all the great pointers though. Thanks to everyone who replied.

It frustrates me to see the government playing lip service to sustainability and then seemingly resisting at every level when someone attempts to do something a little out of the norm.
I understand the comments about the planning process and of course you can't just let anyone do anything they please but I'm puzzled at some of the developments that get allowed (hypermarkets/acres of identikit boxes) when other seemingly low impact proposals are rejected.
My cynical side says the government doesn't really want to encourage low-cost development because in the long run what is in it for them if everyone adopts a sustainable and therefore low-cost/non-consumer lifestyle.

I had thought about going abroad to do this before but I'm still not sure... it's a big enough step trying to do it here let alone abroad especially if you don't speak the language.

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Re: Thanks for the comments

Post: #59833 Clara
Fri Jun 01, 2007 9:22 pm

Yurty wrote:I had thought about going abroad to do this before but I'm still not sure... it's a big enough step trying to do it here let alone abroad especially if you don't speak the language.


Yes but thousands of Brits leave the UK every year - wherever you decide to go there will probably be likeminded expats there already. And learning a language to a functional level comes quick when you have to!

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...and eco campsite owner

caithnesscrofter
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Post: #59979 caithnesscrofter
Sat Jun 02, 2007 11:36 pm

Muddypause wrote:
caithnesscrofter wrote:It is also permitted development to live in alternative accomodation whilst you build a house.

Is that just on a croft, or is it generally the case in Scotland? Jolly sensible idea.

There is a charity in Scotland called "planning aid Scotland" should be a similiar outfit in E & W. They are a great help.

That's interesting to hear. A few years ago I went up north and had a look around parts of Scotland for a place to call my own. I heard about Planning Aid For Scotland, but never heard of anybody who had dealt with them. Do they deal with ordinary people at base level, making applications for simple housing, or are they really for more complicated things? As it's a charity, is it a free service?

Not heard of anything similar in the rest of the UK, but be glad to hear of something.


I believe it is generally the case in Scotland, possibly in all the UK as it is considered "permitted development". And aye, Planning Aid Scotland is free and they are an absolutely brilliant service no matter how small or complex the query. My brother-in-law just contacted them recently about the legalities of living on the land in a tent. For added info, they told him there really isn't a law against it and he shouldn't get any trouble for it. I thought this might be the case as the Caravans Sites Act excludes specifically rolling railway stock and tents in the definitions of "caravans" or "mobile homes", therefore no real law against it. Yurts are really in a grey area here. Depends on if you have a permanent foundation or floor for it and/or services going into it. I just recommend to learn the law and know about the Permitted Development classes inside and out. There are ahem.... certain loopholes if you know where to look. Also, read Simon Fairlies, "Low Impact Development" and try the "The Land is Ours" website. :wink:
Last edited by caithnesscrofter on Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post: #60030 catalyst
Sun Jun 03, 2007 11:36 am

paddy wrote:Are you saying that ....anyone should be able to build whatever they want anywhere they want as long as a group of people like you agree that it is some kind of " green ecological house "???????


perhaps you'd like to read my post again. sorry, but it seems common practise in our culture to rubbish something someone says by taking what they said to some illogical extreme.

and why do you say 'like you' - i'm not doing this, i dont have any interest in spending years fighting for the right to live on my own land.

in the uk, 2% of the population own 98% of the land. present planning laws are insane, and add to the problem. supermarkets get permission to build huge mostrosities, while you or I wouldnt be allowed to live in a yurt on our own land. fortunately a number of groups throughout the uk have challenged the laws. and some inspired councils have realised that there is such a thing as a low impact dwelling, that not everyone wants to make themselves a home purely with the intent of making vast amounts of cash by selling on.
presumably you would prefer that land stay in the hands of the few, who repeatedly cover it in pesticides or concrete for legally sanctioned 'development', while people who want to live in harmony with the land are barred from doing so. touche.

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Post: #60036 Muddypause
Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:29 pm

catalyst wrote:in the uk, 2% of the population own 98% of the land.


Not really wanting to stir up an argument, but I think it's been a long time since those figures were accurate, Catalyst.

In the 70s (or was it the 80s?) there was an agit-prop political theatre company called 7:84 - the figures being based on the statistic of 7% of the population owning 84% of the land. This was a Scottish based company, and may have represented the worse case of Scotland, rather than the UK as a whole.

But I believe it has changed a lot even since then. We are gradually moving away from such feudal times (maybe into a different sort of globalised feudalism). And in any case, when you consider that large amounts of land are owned by local and national authorities, the Church of England, and the like, how can you say what percentage of the population owns it?

But I also don't think the issue is whether we should have a right to live on land simply because we own it. Owning the land cannot be the only criteria because of the way that land is a critical part of a shared resource. Democratically, we should all be entitled to our own space in the country, but we also cannot expect to isolate our part from the rest of society - at least not in a pretty overcrowded place like the UK.

The issue is whether there is justice in a system that allows Tescos to bludgeon their way through locally decided planning policies and decisions made by an elected planning committee, that wouldn't allow (maybe with justification) an individual to build a house for his own use on the same piece of land.
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Post: #60037 caithnesscrofter
Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:51 pm

I often wonder about the planning laws and have done plenty of research on it over the years. However, the more I research, the more I actually find that planning permission to "build a house" isn't really required in alot of cases.

I'm quite often irritated about the presumption most folk have that you need to get planning permission in every situation. Do you really? If you want to find out what the rules are in your area. Read your Local Plan and find out what code your property lies in. For example, I think our property is in PP2. Which means development would be favourable and most likely unconditional in our area. Well, that being said. Next, you should find out about your local Enforcement Charter. Here's the most important rule. Government guidance also discourages Planning Authorities from using enforcement action simply to regularise uses that would automatically receive consent if applied for. In our local Enforcement Charter it also says,

"Where it is considered the contravention is trivial or likely to be granted unconditional permission, formal action will usually not be pursued. The developer will be advised to submit a planning application, in his own interests, so that the works are properly authorised, not least to be able to demonstrate on any sale of the property that all the appropriate and necessary permissions have been obtained."

Where in there is it required then to have planning permission if you would be granted unconditional permission anyways is what I want to know?

I thought another interesting tidbit was that if a complaint is made to the council about unauthorised development if it cannot be seen from a public road or other public area there is nothing they can really do about it.

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Post: #60038 caithnesscrofter
Sun Jun 03, 2007 1:16 pm

Muddypause wrote:
catalyst wrote:in the uk, 2% of the population own 98% of the land.


Not really wanting to stir up an argument, but I think it's been a long time since those figures were accurate, Catalyst.

In the 70s (or was it the 80s?) there was an agit-prop political theatre company called 7:84 - the figures being based on the statistic of 7% of the population owning 84% of the land. This was a Scottish based company, and may have represented the worse case of Scotland, rather than the UK as a whole.

But I believe it has changed a lot even since then. We are gradually moving away from such feudal times (maybe into a different sort of globalised feudalism). And in any case, when you consider that large amounts of land are owned by local and national authorities, the Church of England, and the like, how can you say what percentage of the population owns it?

But I also don't think the issue is whether we should have a right to live on land simply because we own it. Owning the land cannot be the only criteria because of the way that land is a critical part of a shared resource. Democratically, we should all be entitled to our own space in the country, but we also cannot expect to isolate our part from the rest of society - at least not in a pretty overcrowded place like the UK.

The issue is whether there is justice in a system that allows Tescos to bludgeon their way through locally decided planning policies and decisions made by an elected planning committee, that wouldn't allow (maybe with justification) an individual to build a house for his own use on the same piece of land.


Great post here Muddypause! Yep, I believe that figure is for Scotland alone.

"In a country of 19 million acres and five million people, a mere 1252 landowners (0.025% of the population) own two-thirds of the privately owned rural land. And it is this manifest inequity in how land has been divided, how its value pocketed, its use so ill-judged, its ownership so carefully protected and defended, and its inhabitants so harshly treated over the centuries that lies at the heart of the land question and its potency as a political issue." - Andy Wightman.

Muddy, you hit the nail bang on the head when you say we are moving out of the old feudal system into the new and improved global feudal system. :cheers:

If the feudal system has been abolished in this country (Scotland) why don't I own my mineral rights for example? When you buy land in Scotland you don't really own the land. You're just a squatter as far as the system is really concerned. You can be moved off your land at anytime and not be compensated for it. It's a joke really. I agree we should all be entitled to a space to live, build a home and work the land to provide ourselves with our basic needs if we so desire. This is what happens in Mongolia. Nobody owns land. But, they are nomadic people that have enough respect to move on whilst still leaving plenty of grazing and land resource to the next family passing through. I'm digressing here however... I see the key problem of western culture as being the ever escalating and complex system of interdependence we are forced into for our basic needs. This level of interdependence in turn is entirely dependent on a stable monetary system. Very dangerous if you ask me and dare I say it... unsustainable. I think the land issue IS at the very heart of most social problems. :roll:

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Post: #60041 paddy
Sun Jun 03, 2007 1:49 pm

catalyst wrote:
paddy wrote:Are you saying that ....anyone should be able to build whatever they want anywhere they want as long as a group of people like you agree that it is some kind of " green ecological house "???????


perhaps you'd like to read my post again. sorry, but it seems common practise in our culture to rubbish something someone says by taking what they said to some illogical extreme.

and why do you say 'like you' - i'm not doing this, i dont have any interest in spending years fighting for the right to live on my own land.

in the uk, 2% of the population own 98% of the land. present planning laws are insane, and add to the problem. supermarkets get permission to build huge mostrosities, while you or I wouldnt be allowed to live in a yurt on our own land. fortunately a number of groups throughout the uk have challenged the laws. and some inspired councils have realised that there is such a thing as a low impact dwelling, that not everyone wants to make themselves a home purely with the intent of making vast amounts of cash by selling on.
presumably you would prefer that land stay in the hands of the few, who repeatedly cover it in pesticides or concrete for legally sanctioned 'development', while people who want to live in harmony with the land are barred from doing so. touche.


I wasn't rubbishing anything i was merely asking a question.

" Like you " was referring to people who have an ecological point of view.

Again i dont wish to get into arguments on anything but whoever owns the land then even they must abide by the laws laid down which are made to suit a common purpose, like you i may not agree with all of those laws.

I think the 2% land ownership goes way back and is well out of date.

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Post: #60046 Muddypause
Sun Jun 03, 2007 4:03 pm

caithnesscrofter wrote:development would be favourable and most likely unconditional in our area.


I feel I should say that I am not, of course, trying to give any definitive interpretations of the planning laws here, so everything I have said so far should be preceded with 'AIUI'. Scotland often has different laws compared to England and Wales about these sorts of things anyway, and I know absolutely nothing about crofting rules.

But I'm thinking that 'unconditional permission' is not the same as 'no permission needed'. Permission will still have to be formally granted, but there will be no onerous conditions or specific requirements placed upon the development (eg, an Ag. Tie).

Similarly, a 'permitted development' referred to earlier, is one that is permitted under the current planning permission; it does not mean that it is permitted without permission. For example, I would be permitted to build a small extension on my house without the need to apply for further permission - this is because it is already covered by the original permission from when the house was originally built. In effect, the permission to build it has already been granted.

You are prolly already familiar with your local area development plan (guidelines to the local planning policies), which the council publish every few years. They can be pretty hard reading, but can also be quite revealing. I would imagine that eco-developments are going to feature more in them in the future. It seems that Pembrokeshire in Wales has already made a move in this direction.
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Post: #60149 caithnesscrofter
Mon Jun 04, 2007 11:02 am

Muddypause wrote:
caithnesscrofter wrote:development would be favourable and most likely unconditional in our area.

I feel I should say that I am not, of course, trying to give any definitive interpretations of the planning laws here, so everything I have said so far should be preceded with 'AIUI'. Scotland often has different laws compared to England and Wales about these sorts of things anyway, and I know absolutely nothing about crofting rules.

But I'm thinking that 'unconditional permission' is not the same as 'no permission needed'. Permission will still have to be formally granted, but there will be no onerous conditions or specific requirements placed upon the development (eg, an Ag. Tie).

Similarly, a 'permitted development' referred to earlier, is one that is permitted under the current planning permission; it does not mean that it is permitted without permission. For example, I would be permitted to build a small extension on my house without the need to apply for further permission - this is because it is already covered by the original permission from when the house was originally built. In effect, the permission to build it has already been granted.

You are prolly already familiar with your local area development plan (guidelines to the local planning policies), which the council publish every few years. They can be pretty hard reading, but can also be quite revealing. I would imagine that eco-developments are going to feature more in them in the future. It seems that Pembrokeshire in Wales has already made a move in this direction.


First of all, I think you've misunderstood what the other side of "permitted development" is. It has very little to do with what you've already been permitted to do under a permission you've already been given. That's only a tiny offshoot under certain circumstances. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 sets out 84 separate classes of development for which a grant of planning permission is automatically given. This is the England & Wales version...

"Permitted development
3.—(1) Subject to the provisions of this Order and regulations 60 to 63 of the Conservation (Natural Habitats, & c.) Regulations 1994[18] (general development orders), planning permission is hereby granted for the classes of development described as permitted development in Schedule 2."


skip down to Schedule 2 and you will see all the things that you are automatically granted planning permission for... some have conditions, some dinna.
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1995/Uksi_19950418_en_1.htm

Now perhaps my comments about forestry, agricultural & temporary use buildings and seasonal agri/for. workers dwellings will make more sense? Possibly, I've misunderstood what you're trying to say as well? :dontknow:

But, no, I'm not saying that "unconditional permission" means no permission needed. What I am saying is that if permission will be given anyways with no conditions imposed... why must we be required to fill in the form and pay them money, then more money to all their chosen companies that i need to get certificates from? Next, the building warrant people try to require that you use certain materials of certain brands or made by certain companies that come of course at a certain price. I ask for what? There is a ruin on my croft of a cottage that was built by a veteran of the peninsula wars and a broch built over 2,000 years ago in the next field. I don't think they applied for planning permission.

They try to tell you you have to do it "because everybody else does". That's the first clue as it's hardly a legitimate reason? Ever wonder why after 4 years if you have built a house without permission it is too late for any enforcement? Statute of limitations is why. The planning system is just another way of taxing average people and subsidising large companies who want to develop in the local area. Fee collecting. Also, against government guidelines apparently. Permission doesn't have to be formally granted as it isn't illegal to build without planning permission anywhere in the UK (unless it's a listed building!). So, now the logical question....

If it isn't illegal to build without planning permission and they can't find any reasons to take enforcement action on you do you need planning permission? :wink:
Last edited by caithnesscrofter on Mon Jun 04, 2007 5:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Use of land and time restrictions

Post: #60176 Yurty
Mon Jun 04, 2007 12:47 pm

Interesting, heavy going but skim reading it I notcied something I'd seen mentioned elsewhere in relation to forest land for sale.

Permitted development
B. The use of any land for any purpose for not more than 28 days in total in any calendar year...


Forest land always seems to come with a similar restriction on how many days you can live there in a year.
Probably mis-understanding but theoretically, you could buy a piece of land and divide it into 12 or 13 seperate plots and then move your yurt to a different plot every month. Not sustainable in the long run I guess.
I'll see if I can get my hands on some planning docs.

Even more fiendishly you could divide your land as you would a pie chart and then put your yurt on the intersection of the 12 to 13 plots :bom: but I believe that's called not sticking to the spirit of the law.

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Post: #60253 caithnesscrofter
Mon Jun 04, 2007 5:16 pm

well yurty, in mongolia they move their yurts every few days as they don't want to kill the grass!

What kind of yurt do you have anyways? Would be interested in hearing about yours... :cooldude:

So, I read an article in yesturdays Sunday Post about yurts. This guy in Scotland who makes yurts claims in the article that the added benefit of yurts is that the councils don't consider them permanent structures so they do not require planning permission. I've scanned the article and posted it just here..

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Post: #60420 Yurty
Tue Jun 05, 2007 1:02 pm

Interesting article. Thanks.
As it says, they strike me as being ideal for people looking for somewhere cheap to live. The article doesn't mention heating and insulation but seeing some of the American yurt websites it seems like those issues can be sorted pretty easily. In fact some of the pre-fabricated American yurts are just like "traditional" brick and mortar houses inside only round so I don't understand why more people haven't seen the potential.
Stick a ground source heat pump with underfloor distribution under your yurt platform if you can't be bothered with a woodburner and you've got yourself a cosy little pad.
Interesting to read that in Mongolia there used to be suburbs of yurts around large cities but that this is now changing as people move into flats instead.

Unfortunately I don't actually own one, it's more the idea that I've got at the moment. Until I get some land where I can put one that's all it will be.

You are right, people do move them about frequently, various books I've seen suggest a large yurt could be taken down in about an hour but at the moment I think I'd like to whimp out and put it on a platform and insulate it :oops: That's where the problems start and how I came to post this thread.
Yurt with no platform doesn't seem to be a problem, not considered permanent, maybe get around land use restrictions by just moving it every 28 days or moving between different sites. Cheap land usable. Yipee.
Yurt with platform, platform potentially considered permanent so maybe needs planning permission and the fact it can't be moved means zoning related restrictions also come into play. As suggested need to check with local authorities but cheap land probably not usable.


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