In 2011, Reforesting Scotland launched the Thousand Huts Campaign, in response to growing demand from a wide range of people to revitalise hutting culture in Scotland – the building, inhabiting and enjoyment of simple shelters for recreation and pleasure.
Hutting is well established in many European countries such as Germany, Finland, Norway and France (there are around 500,000 huts in Norway but less than 1000 in Scotland). Many urban people to head to the countryside for the weekend to their hytte or dacha. By contrast, Scotland has a very modest historic tradition of hutting. Here, hutting was predominantly associated with an early 20th century working class movement, when small holiday huts began to be built on land close to Scotland‘s main industrial cities.
The Thousand Huts Campaign has highlighted the benefits hutting can bring to individual lives and communities and to Scotland’s sometimes impoverished natural environment and rural economy. In 2014, the Scottish Government introduced supportive policy on huts in Scottish Planning Policy, defining a hut as:
‘A simple building used intermittently as recreational accommodation (ie. not a principal residence); having an internal floor area of no more than 30m2; constructed from low impact materials; generally not connected to mains water, electricity or sewerage; and built in such a way that it is removable with little or no trace at the end of it life. Huts may be built singly or in groups.’
In July 2017, the Scottish Government relaxed the Building Regulations to exempt huts from Building Warrant (subject to conditions!).
Urban Animation has assisted the Thousand Huts Campaign for with advice on planning and development matters. We co-authored ‘New Hutting Developments: Good Practice Guidance on the Planning, Development And Management Of Huts And Hutting Sites’ published in 2016.
We gained planning permission for a pilot project for 13 huts at Carnock Wood in Fife: a collaboration between Reforesting Scotland and Forestry and Land Scotland. The first huts should be on site in 2021. We also concluded planning permission for 15 huts at Cash Wood, by Falkland in Fife (huts on site from 2020), 16 huts at The Encampment in South Lanarkshire (on site from 2020) and 15 huts at North Cloich in the Scottish Borders (on site 2021).
It is hoped that planning permission will soon be granted for our application for 18 huts at Crathie in the Cairngorms National Park (working with Galbraith’s).