Yurtastic! UK planning loophole opens

Staffordshire council has lost an attempt to evict down a small group of Yurt dwellers who were living in a field without the necessary residential planning permission.

A planning inspector has quashed an enforcement notice requiring the removal of four yurts “used for holiday purposes” because they “provided an acceptable form of development” in the countryside which “supported the local economy.”

Three yurts comprised large conical tents under four metres high while a fourth was constructed of timber with skids. Each yurt had an external earth closet in a detached hut together with a log store. Solar panels provided lighting and the appellant stated that all were removable.

The council nonetheless was concerned about the adverse impact to the landscape and views obtained from users of public footpaths. The site did lie within a special landscape area an inspector noted but the yurts were of quality design which did not materially detract from the character of the locality. While many visitors would drive to the site and the presence of parked cars would be an alien feature, this would give rise to a localised impact. The need to support tourism development in the countryside and the benefits to the local economy also supported his decision to allow the appeal. A condition was imposed limiting the number of yurts which could be erected.

“As a manufacturer of yurts, the decision to quash an enforcement notice against a development of holiday yurts is heartening,” said Rod Richardson. “The growth in numbers of people wanting to live off-grid or in alternatives to bricks and mortar means our enquiries are growing rapidly.

Unfortunately, the planning process is so tardy that I now have many potential customers at various stages in the planning process – frequently taking more than two years.

Rural businesses are struggling to survive and demonstrate the level of enterprise this government is seeking. It would be great if planning processes supported them, rather than the opposite.”

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