Whether large or small, residential or commercial, our team at ECHO have experience of a variety of projects, and we can help in every aspect of the project from submitting planning applications to the interior design. We understand how our rather unique buildings fit within the complex Planning system. Whether you want to commission a small garden room, a self contained eco cabin, or a dwelling, we can offer appropriate advice on planning and manage all aspects of the project from the start.
Prefabricated and transported to site, our buildings are designed to conform to, and far exceed, BS:3632:2015 - the legal definition of a mobile home for Planning purposes. This can help with the planning process in certain situations, and our designs are ideal for rental accommodation where sustainability and a natural aesthetic are particularly desirable , such as for sites in designated areas. However , planning criteria include the intended use of the building and the site's designation. Councils follow both National Guidelines and and their own Local Planning Policies. If the site is located in a designated area, e.g. an AONB or Conservation Area, Planning conditions may apply . Each site and design proposal is unique, and whatever the proposal , we would always advise working with your Local Planning Authority (LPA) to ensure the appropriate permissions are granted. We can help with advice and guidance on how to proceed, and on submitting an application. We can also submit applications on your behalf if requested.
Planning permission is not always necessary for smaller projects and garden rooms which meet the permitted development criteria. Our buildings can be designed to meet Permitted Development rules. This means you may not need planning permission for a garden room, studio or similar in the grounds of your house. It is worth noting, however, that if it is to be sited in the grounds of a listed building, you will still need Listed Building Consent, as Tower House Garden Room, or if your site is in a Conservation area or AONB, restrictions may still apply.
If the intended use of the building is as self contained accommodation, depending on the circumstances, you may be able to apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development. Where there is a need for extra accommodation, for a family member in a separate an annex, for instance, it may be possible to site one of our buildings within the curtilage of the main residence with a Certificate of Lawful Development, as they meet the BS:3632:2015. The Little Bodwin Garden Office used this approach. Your Local Planning Authority (LPA) would be responsible for issuing the CLD.
If the intended use of the building is as self contained accommodation for rental, we would advise you obtain planning permission for the building. For land designated as agricultural, for example, permission for change of use for the land to site a caravan can be applied for. This was the case for buildings such as Burnhead Bothy, Brockloch Treehouse, and the Echo Yurt
If the intended use of the building is as a permanent dwelling and main residence, you will need planning permission for a dwelling house. Two Flowers is a small, off grid house for two, sited on a Croft in northwest Scotland, which was granted permission as a permanent dwelling.
If appropriate, a Pre Planning Application can be useful to get an indication as to whether or not planning may be granted for your project. The fee for this is normally less than for a full planning application - sometimes depending on the LPA offers advice free of charge. It can be submitted without the need for detailed plans, and it can be helpful to establish the approach needed for a successful application. It is worth remembering, however that if a full application is necessary subsequently, the process will probably now take the same time as any other new application. .
To establish exactly what may or may not be possible, it is worth beginning the Planning Application process as early on in the project as possible. A straightforward Planning Application will typically take two months to be processed from receipt of the completed application, but the whole process can be lengthier if the site or the nature of the project demands tree or wildlife surveys, archaeological reports, etc. to be undertaken.
Each individual UK regional council will have its own Local Plan and policies, and Town and Country Planning Acts differ between England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Here are links to find your LPA online. If your site is in Scotland, you can find a link at mygov.scot. For England or Wales, you can find your LPA and advice at the Planning Portal. The Northern Ireland Planning Portal offers advice and links to your local council.