The decision-making surrounding purchasing a shepherd’s hut can be quite daunting, especially if groundworks and electrics aren’t your specialist subjects!
But there’s no need to worry as our experienced and knowledgeable team are here to guide you every step of the way – making your shepherd’s hut journey nice and smooth.
‘I had a strong sense of the company’s pride in their work. They were incredibly helpful and endlessly patient with my many initial questions.’
– Gwennie Fraser, Plankbridge Customer
Below we have gone through a few of our frequently asked questions, casting light on some of the less glamorous sides of settling in your shepherd’s hut.
Does a shepherd’s hut need planning permission?
The simple answer is the shepherd’s hut itself doesn’t need planning permission, it’s what you are doing with it that might.
As the shepherd’s hut structure is on wheels and is portable the answer is often no. But any change of use of the land that the huts stand upon may need planning permission.
All planning permission guidelines can be found online. Local plan policy is a good starting point if you do need planning permission, as if your project falls within the local plan that is a positive thing.
In the curtilage of the house, and ‘if the enjoyment of the hut is incidental to the enjoyment of the main dwelling’, then you don’t need planning permission. So, if the hut is near the house, and you go out to the hut to paint, play the guitar, have friends to stay then that is all incidental to the enjoyment of the main dwelling.
The test of ‘has a material change of use occurred’ is a good question to ask. If a hut is placed on an agricultural field, and it becomes a holiday let then planning permission would officially be needed.
There is a permanency question too; can the hut be moved without large machinery? Yes, it can, so it isn’t seen as a permanent structure. But, if your hut has plumbing connected to the drain or septic tank (perhaps for a glamping venture) then it could be seen as being less portable – and if services such as septic tanks are needed then the Environment Agency will have their own guidelines for that, protecting watercourses. Whilst we have delivered many shepherd’s huts to National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, including the Lake District, the Peak District, Dartmoor, the New Forest and the Black Mountains in Wales it is worth running the idea past them first.
‘The Plankbridge team were a pleasure to deal with. They listened, made suggestions and produced our dream in hut form.’
-Rachel Smith, Plankbridge customer in the Peak District
If the hut requires 240v electrics then the basic package for a 16amp supply has a 3-pin duraplug under the hut, situated in a convenient place to suit you. If the loading requires it, for example, if there is an electric shower, then a 32 or 64amp supply will be needed. An armoured cable can be trenched underground or clipped to a fence or wall to feed an electric supply to the hut. Your electrician will be able to advise on how best to achieve this and we are always happy to find someone reliable and trustworthy local to you to help.
-What if I can’t get mains electrics to the hut?
We can fit 12v solar kit to the hut – a small semi-flexible panel sits on the roof and feeds a 110 amp/hr leisure battery. This runs low voltage LED lights and small charger sockets – larger electric demands from solar kit would need a larger array of panels, and increased battery storage. A hut can be completely off-grid and independent with an LPG boiler providing hot water, but would need a water supply. We are pleased to help advise further on this.
‘The whole experience from first discussions at your workshop in Dorset, through to delivery was a delight! Thank you so much to all your team’
-Bodcott shepherd’s hut, Herefordshire
A hut fitted with a flushing toilet and a shower will need to connect either to the main drains or a septic tank / small treatment plant system. This is often a routine job for a groundworks company that would advise on the best options for you. Where connections to a drain aren’t possible, we also fit self-contained composting units and cassette-type toilets. As always, we are very happy to get in touch with a groundworks company and help organise this for you.
‘The Plankbridge team were so friendly and overcame all difficulties- very impressed!’
– Sparrow Garden Design
Insulation, heating and air-conditioning
Our huts are built using modern timber frame house techniques and can be used all year round. The 75mm / 3″ timber frame is completely sheathed in structural OSB 2, wrapped in breather membrane, insulated with British Thermafleece sheep’s wool, and lined with vapour barrier which contributes to a comfortable, warm and dry environment. The internal wall lining is very stable V grooved sheet material, achieving the look of traditional match-boarding with no knots or shrinkage. It takes paint extremely well. Like with many things there are lots of magic ingredients that go into the Plankbridge hut build that makes it a cut above the rest.
When it comes to heating your hut, you have a couple of choices, or a combination of both.
We fit only kite-marked stoves, the ‘Apple Pie’, to the British standard for portable accommodation units. There is a fixed air vent, and a CO alarm, with an integral heat shield. The flue pipe is twin wall all the way from the stove to the chimney cap, helping the length of the flue draw well.
We also fit cast iron electric radiators and lovely quality Everhot mini electric stoves with a small oven.
As the UK summers are beginning to heat up in recent years and we are able to deliver huts to different climates around the world, it is important that your hut is always comfortable, however warm it is outside. We can fit our huts with air-conditioning units to keep you perfectly cool.
‘There was an instant meeting of minds. The more ideas we threw at Richard, the more he relished the challenge… with all the bells and whistles we wanted, the challenge was catnip to him and his creative team.’
– Robin Hutson, Chairman of The Pig Hotels Group
If you would like to discuss any of these points with our experienced team, give us a call on 01300 348414 or email [email protected] . We are always happy to help and are always on hand.