Log Cabin Planning Permission

Log Cabin Planning Permission (UK): Learn to Play The Game!

If it were as easy as buying a plot of land and building whatever you like on it, I’m sure there would be weird and wonderful creations popping up everywhere and many of us would have already built our dream homes.

However, most countries require their citizens to adhere to planning laws and building regulations; England is no exception.

Make sure you are in the know about all the relevant rules and regulations before you start your build or you might be liable for hefty penalties or remedial action (which may even involve demolition)!

If in any doubt, it is always advisable to contact your local relevant agencies before you start any work.

Do you need Planning Permission?

Planning Permission
Generally, the larger the building and the closer it is to a boundary, the more likely you are to need planning permission.

However, there are certain circumstances under which planning permission is not required.

Planning permission will not be required if the use of the building is ‘incidental to the enjoyment of the main dwelling house’ and the proposed design is defined as a ‘permitted development.’

Permitted Development rights allow home owners to improve and extend their home without applying for planning permission.

Part 1, Class E of the General Permitted Development Order, provides permitted rights within the area surrounding your house for outbuildings, providing they meet certain criteria.

This would suit homeowners looking to build a log cabin to use for a games room or a workplace. However, it WOULD NOT suit homeowners looking to build a log cabin to be used as an annex or sleeping accommodation.

Permitted Development Rights

Development Rights for a Log Cabin
The permitted development rights allows you to build a log cabin in your back garden under these conditions:

  • It mustn’t cover more than half the area of the land around the ‘original house’ (the house as it was first built, or as is stood on 1 July 1948)
    • Any renovations added by past owners since 1948 counts towards your Permitted Development allocation
  • The log cabin cannot extend beyond the part of the original house nearest to the highway – meaning you can’t put a log cabin in your front garden or beyond the front wall of your house without planning permission!
  • It can’t be more than one storey
  • It must have a height of less than
    • 4 metres in the case of a building with a dual-pitched roof
    • 5 metres if it is within 2 metres of a boundary
  • The eaves cannot exceed height of 5m
  • The log cabin cannot include a veranda, balcony or raised platform
  • If the land is classed as article 1(5) land (land within a World Heritage site, a conservation area, a national park, an area of outstanding natural beauty or the Broads,) then;
    • The log cabin must not exceed 10m2 if it is more than 20m away from the dwelling, and;
    • Development will not be permitted for log cabins between the side elevation (and front elevation) and a boundary.
  • There are no permitted rights if the building is listed
  • The log cabin cannot be used as a separate living accommodation or independent separate dwelling

If your prospective build is not covered by permitted development rights, you will most likely need planning permission.

How does it work?!

Planning authorities make their decision based on each case of circumstances, so don’t write off your chances if you were hoping for a 4m tall log cabin close to a border.

Your application will depend largely on a number of factors such as how the new structure will affect your neighbours. If it will have an adverse effect, it is unlikely you will be granted permission.

It is also highly likely you will need planning permission if your proposed build will restrict the view of others, or require a new or wider road for access.

If you are thinking of building a log cabin from scratch on a piece of land, or want to build a log cabin that you can live in, you will definitely need to apply for planning permission and then building regulations approval, unless you find a piece of land that has planning permission attached to it.


Make sure you know the difference between a piece of land for sale with outline planning permission (OPP) and a piece of land with full planning permission:

  • Land with OPP means that in principle, development has been granted, but there will still be a lot of details to finalize and the planning department may only let one very specific build take place.
  • If a plot has full planning permission for a four-bedroom house, for example, you may be able to make an alternative application to build a log cabin.

If you decide to go look for a piece of land to build on, it is well worth looking at and familiarizing yourself with the development plan for your relevant area, this is known as either a county structure plan or a district local plan (or could be combined as a unitary development plan). These plans will have policies about where new houses are likely to be able to be built and will list the criteria used to assess applications. This information will probably be available on your local authority’s website, and if not you may be able to obtain a copy from your local council.

So, what is the planning process?

1. Do you need it?

Planning application process
Find out whether you need planning permission – I would advise that you contact your local planning department or use the Planning Portal – this is a great resource with tonnes of information about the planning process.

2. Consult your local planning officer

Speak with a planning officer
If you do need planning permission, ask your local planning officer about your intended build. Do they see any difficulties with it? Is there anything they can suggest that will make it more likely to be approved?

Tony McDonald from Wandsworth Council suggests the following:

  • Check on the council’s website for their policies
  • Look at applications that have already been approved in the local area
  • Ensure your proposal fits in with the area you are suggesting to build in
  • Consider this: How would you feel if your proposed building was being built next door to you?!

Many local councils will offer pre-application advice for a fee and I would urge to you grab this opportunity with both hands; Make it your aim to develop a good rapport with them, and to question them about the key issues you might face.

3. Plan your build!

Log cabin design
Have your plans drawn up, or find cabin plans, most people use an architect for this but it is possible to do it yourself if you do your research.

4. Paperwork time!

Completing paper work
You will need to fill in the appropriate forms, send a plan of your site, a copy of your drawings and the fee. You can use this fee checker to see how much your application will cost.

5. Public consultation

Public talk
Following this, there will be a public announcement. This involves your neighbors being sent a letter, a notice being displayed by your house, and perhaps in the local newspaper. The application will also be put on the planning register (example) for public inspection.

The planning department will consult with the local parish or town hall, highway engineers, and several other possible professionals such as a professional archaeologist if the land is a historic site, or an environmental health officer if there are contaminated land issues.

There is no harm in you talking to the people who are going to be consulted, make friends with them and put their minds at rest about any concerns they have; if any one of these professionals causes your application to be refused, you may have a tough, but not impossible appeal job on your hands.

Don’t worry if your neighbors do object; it doesn’t necessarily mean your application will be refused.

6. D-day!

Make a decision sign
Decision time! If all goes according to plan and there are no major delays, you should then expect to wait about eight weeks.

The council will then either accept or refuse! If they accept, your permission will be subject to certain planning conditions which must be adhered to.

7. Time to Re-think?

Application for planning permission
If your application is refused, you do have the right to appeal. Alternatively, you can rethink your proposal. It is probably worth talking to your planning officer to find what will make your application successful. You might be able to submit a second application free of charge if it is within six months of the first decision.

Once you have your planning permission, you are ready to start your build! Remember you also have to adhere to building regulations, whether or not you need planning permission. Again, I would recommend that you check with your local planning authority if you are in any doubt whatsoever.

Hopefully, this guide has made the planning process for your log cabin seem slightly less daunting to you and you will feel fully equipped to pursue your planning permission application now with confidence.

Do come back and let us know how your planning application goes! If you have already obtained planning permission for a log cabin build, we would love to hear about your experience with your local planning authority!


  • I will be building a chalet for tourist trade next year I work as small pig farm and it be getting build to the side of one off the fields it at least 15m away from boundaries and 50 plus metres away from Rd I live in Scotland also it be 4.5mx5m and 3 m tall but can reduce it to 2.7m can I build it without pp

    • Hi Mike,

      I recommend getting in touch with your local planning department and asking them. Usually if you are building anything which will be used to sleep in, you’ll need planning permission.

      Thanks, David

  • Hi there, that was a useful article.

    As of now, I have an idea, but I’m not soo sure what to do with it.

    I want to build a small cabin on my own land for sleeping use, in the region of 250-300 square feet, 4 meters tall maximum, outside of a town, not near another build, and essentially keep myself to myself.

    I’m in Gloucestershire, does this sound like a plausible idea, and if so, or even not, who can I contact to discuss further ?

    Many thanks.

    • Hi Kieran,
      I’m glad you found the article useful. Unfortunately this article is the extent of the advice we can give on planning permission. Every single county differs in how strict they are with planning so whilst this may be approved in some counties, it may not be in others. I’d advice that you contact your local planning department. This would be a good place to start: http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/planning-and-environment/planning-applications/ It may also be worth while seeing if you can find any similar sized log cabins in the local area – if they’ve already approved a few, they will be more willing to consider your build. David

  • Hi David
    My father owns 1.4 acres out side a village in hereford he as obtained planning permission for goat houses and built them we keep a small amount of live stock on there what would your advise be on weather a cabin or shepherds hut could be built there and weather the possibility of living there would be
    Regards lyndon

    • Hi Lyndon,

      You would need to speak with planning and building control at Herefordshire Council. My initial thoughts would be as a goat house is class 6 it isn’t suitable for a residential dwelling. Farm Structures from classes 6 to 10 aren’t suitable for any form of residential living.

      Hope this helps,

  • Hi David,
    In your experience, how often would planning permission be given for a small number of cabins be given to a Suffolk landowner for tourist reasons where neighbors would not be affected by the build?
    Has your firm ever designed and supplied such a project?

    • Hi Nigel,

      This can vary even between local authorities and councils. What size are you thinking of?

  • Hi, me & my family would love to purchase some land, maybe 2/3 acres & have a log cabin built on it, to start our own smallholding,does this sound like something that could be done? If so where do we start ?

    • Hi James, absolutely, this is possible. I would recommend getting in touch with your local authority to find out more about any other log cabins in the area, and whether they have any recommendations. Best of luck!

  • Hello im looking to build some kind of dwelling on my land in Lincolnshire i have about 4 acres and wanting a small holding , any advice on whats easyest to get planning.

    • Hi Ricky, thanks for your message. I’d say the first step would be finding out about any other log cabins in the area and talking to the owners to see how they went about getting planning permission. It is getting increasingly difficult to get permission, but not impossible! Good luck, David

    • Hi Ricky, I’m also from lincolnshire and me and my husband are eventually wanting a bit of land and to live in a cabin with a few rescue animals. Is there any chance I could keep in touch with you to find out how you’re getting along in a few months/years time and possible get a bit of advice when we come to seeking out our dream? Cheers!

  • Hello, I wondered if you provide information packs for couples who are interested in living permanently in a log cabin, with regards to what processes need to be considered and what legalities are involved? Cost of of land etc
    We current live in rented accommodation in South Liverpool. We would love our own land and a modest cabin.

    Many thanks for now

    • Hi Vicky, thanks for your message. What kind of size cabin are you wanting to live in? If you’re happy to live in a cabin on wheels, this might be the easiest way to achieve this as it falls under the caravan act rather than planning permission. Hope that helps, David

  • Hi, I have had to raise the area in my sloping garden to get it level. Does this impact the height restriction of 2.5m or will it be 2.5m from the new level?

    Thanks in advance


    • Hi Anton, I’m afraid I can’t be much help with this one. I would recommend getting in touch with your local planning department and asking them. Thanks, David

  • Hello there,

    We are a group of 50 something women who would like to sell up and build log cabins on a piece of land we would like to be as self sufficient as possible and would There would be between 3 to 5 2 bedroom cabins Do you think this would be a possibility and do you have any advice on where to start. Thank you so much

    • Hi Karen, thanks for your message. Wow, what an exciting goal! I do think it’s achievable, you’ll just have to choose your piece of land very carefully. Have you narrowed it down to an area, or are you looking across the whole of the UK? Thanks, David

    • Hi Karen,

      I and a group of friends most without partners are looking to come together as we get older and do the same thing as you are planning, would it be possible to get in touch as I would appreciate any advice on the journey you (or anyone else if they have done it) can provide.

      Am I allowed to leave an email address?

      Kind regards

      • Hi, Richard! of course, you can leave an email address, the downside is that putting your email openly on any website will invite spammers to email you. Good luck on your journey! David

  • Hi
    If you build a log cabin but only hav planning for holiday let’s but it states on planning non residential obviously you can’t live in it permenant ? Or can you

    • Hi Robert, I’d imagine if it states it’s non residential that you can’t live in it, no. Thanks, David

  • Hi David, I saw on a previous comment you mentioned a cabin on wheels being better as it falls under the caravan act. I was under the inpression that if the dwelling is classed as a ‘Mobile Home’ you’re not allowed to live in it permanently (in England)? Me and my husband want to go down the route of building something that falls into the mobile home category as we only want something small but I didnt think we were allowed to use it as main residence.

  • Hi im looking to buy large field but its listed as agricultural grade III. Is it possible or does anyone know who has been successful in obtaining planning permission as id like to build 2 residential log cabins and stables for horses. Ive heard its a nightmare to do?

    • Hi Kevin, I don’t have any experience of building on agricultural grade III land. I’ll leave your comment here in hope that if someone has experience of this, they might share their knowledge. All the best with your build, David

  • Hi,
    We would like to build a log cabin adjacent to our lake to rent out as self contained accommodation for paying guests.
    We live in a conservation area, not listed & not immediately overlooked as there is a 6’ fence boundary & our neighbour is about a quarter an acre away from the fence.
    Do we need planning permission.
    Can we rent it out all year ?, properly insulated of course.

    • Hi Suzi, yes you’ll need planning permission if you want to be able to rent it out all year. Do keep in touch when you start the build, I’d love to see the progress. Thanks, David

  • Hi

    I would like to buy a log cabin on wheels/chassis and put it on my land, but then rent it out to paying guests.
    Do you need planning permission for this because it would be rented out?



    • Hi Jason, you’ll need to get out the appropriate planning permission for this. Good luck, David

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