Looking for experience with Highland Council with planning permission for a hut

Hi! I came across some discussions on hutting on the 1000 Huts site but the discussion board there seems to be closed so here I am :slightly_smiling_face:
I’m an owner occupier crofter with a few acres in Skye. The top half of my croft is pretty inaccessible and is just very rough tussocky grass and heather. But it’s a lovely place to spend some time.
I’d like to put up a hut there, it would be maybe 200m up the hill from my house, accessed via a very rough footpath (more like a sheep track). No nearby buildings, no services.

Looking at the council website the planning fee is nearly £1k! That’s a lot to shell out especially if they say no. So it would be great to hear from anybody else who has dealt with Highland Council- I’m surprised that they don’t have a policy or plan that mentions hutting.

The hut I have in mind would be around 20m² with a green roof and reclaimed tin or larch cladding. It would be for family use only. With DIY sheep’s wool insulation and a lot of recycling, I’d be hoping to put it together for under £5k.


Hi Bob, your idea for a hut is great and something which would happen in the Nordic countries and many other places without any fuss and minimal cost. Sadly, local authorities in Scotland are on a learning curve on this. £1000 sounds very expensive.
I suggest you drop Richard Heggie a line. He is our go-to planning advisor and has obtained more permissions than anyone else in Scotland. You can email me and i will pass it on to him- donaldmcphillimy4@gmail.com It will help your application if you say you will plant some native trees and shrubs around your hut. Planners are very sensitive to the impact on landscapes. They aren’t used to huts yet. Donald


Thanks for your reply and encouragement. The area where I would want to site the hut is already slowly rewilding with birch and rowan (a mixture of self seeded and transplants which I have added). It’s of near zero grazing value. I would certainly want to screen off the hut as much as possible, not that there is anybody nearby with a direct line of sight.
I’ve emailed you, it would be great if you could put me in touch with Richard.


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Hi Bob,
Good luck with your plans. Your idea for a wee hut on a hill side sounds entirely in keeping with the huts ethos. £5k sounds doable too if you do the work yourself and can get cheap/free doors windows & stove. I’ve attached (hopefully!) an extract from a bit of research one of our fellow hut enthusiasts, Andrew, prepared in 2019. I’ve copied the Highland Council section.
A bit out of date now, but might give a lead to read other applications and reasons for approval or refusal.
I got permission for a 12ft x 14ft hut and I think it helped that it was small, simple, and part of a plan to improve the land a little. I also gave bare-bones info which seems to invite less questions from planners. As Donald says, Richard Heggie is the man for wisdom on hut applications.
Best of luck.
PS: “Shp” on the document = Shepherd’s Hut.


Thank you for those, I will look them up. Shepherds’ Huts could be deemed as portable buildings (aka caravans) so might be treated a bit differently to traditional huts.

Hi Bob,

You’ll need to check the cost with the planning team however I applied for Pre-Application Advice (PAA) from Highland Council last summer and this cost £105. From what I recall PAA is 50% of the full planning application cost so I assumed (hopefully correctly!) that the full planning application fee would have been be £210 at the time.

I hope that helps!


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Yes I came across a discussion on the Facebook group, seems like there are different categories for planning and a hut should be in a lower cost bracket.


The Council do not need to give advice etc about “huts”: they are, instead, legally bound by NPF4. Download NPF4 and search for hut.

I recommend copying (as near as possible) a successful application. There are a small number. Mine, from memory, is 20/00895 in Argyll Bute. You may, also, wish to go to the Appeal as the Reporter did a great job in stating what is permitted, pointing out to the council people that are clueless or misrepresenting the legislation.

And, if you ever think you may let it out keep in mind the STL legislation: a hut is a bothy if it meets a few, simple, criteria. Bothies do not need an STL License.

The fee will not be 1000. As someone else said, nearer 200.

I have put other comments either here or on 1000huts forum.

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