Small Woodland Owners' Group

I'm looking for a woodland to rent near Chatham

A place to introduce yourself to your woodland neighbours exchange ideas and information, pool resources and report incidences.

Re: I'm looking for a woodland to rent near Chatham

Postby oldclaypaws » Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:16 pm

The UK is a small very crowded but wealthy Island where rather draconian laws have evolved to keep the peace and protect landowners. Other more rural countries have a far more easy going attitude and far more land where more alternative lifestyles are possible; the USA and Ireland for example, where backwoodsmen and travellers abound. Also in impoverished regions such as Africa or South America millions of people have no option to live in some sort of tin shack or plastic sheeting shelter, without sewage systems, safe water or utilities. For them its not an alternative 'dream', but a grinding hardship. They would love to be in a warm flat with a TV and a 9-5 job, to them that is heaven and one of the reasons that so many of them try to escape desperate poverty and come here. They would find your being able to live in a warm house and wanting instead to be in a bender in a woodland very bizarre.

I read up a bit on the detailed history and small-print of planning regulations last night, its tedious but also rather fascinating. There is a game of chess between the authorities allowing what they think is acceptable and necessary to protect property owners, but preventing what they see as contrary to the conventional public interest.

What will surprise many woodland owners is that there are two distinct bits of legislation that apply, one covering buildings (1948), the other earlier one covering mobile dwellings and public health (1936).

The 1948 postwar legislation was designed presumably in the face of the need for massive post-blitz national rebuilding to give some protection to private individuals from huge new public works. In the end, most development ended up being private. Woodlands came under the agricultural bit, which is a useful loophole if you want a non-residential building such as a occasionally used shed. You are entitled to a 'toolstore and shelter' for forestry purposes, there's no minimal area of land, no formal planning application and the structure can be large and just about any materials, you do it under a system called prior notification. You can't live in it though, that would be a 'dwelling'. In a remote location there's realistically nobody likely to be able to monitor how often you stop over in your 'shelter', so an owner can within reason use it quite a bit as an occasional humble retreat provided its not for long continuous periods. National Parks have stricter local byelaws governing all planning, including agricultural buildings. An interesting parallel bit of legislation meant to benefit genuine farmers is after you've started erecting a barn, pig sty or whatever under prior notification you are allowed 5 year temporary permission to have a mobile home on site to tend to animals. If after 5 years you can prove you have a viable farming livestock business, you can then get consent to build a permanent house. The downside to that (for anyone thinking of trying to turn their wood into a farm with a house) is in order to prove you have a viable livestock business, you need a lot of land, a lot of animals and a lot of other kit. You're really talking a large herd of cows, a few hundred pigs, or several thousand chickens, not a goat on a rope tied to a tree.

The 1936 Public Health Act (perhaps a response to mass unemployment and economic hardship, like now), had a section governing mobile dwellings, which will apply to any woodland owner looking to do what Chester wants. Presumably they didn't want hoards of unemployed vagrants roaming the countryside, looking for work, leaving litter, setting up shanty towns in Berkshire, polluting the water supply, spoiling the view and defecating in the bushes. You cannot camp on one site for more than 42 consecutive days or 60 days in any year. You can't move your tent a few feet and re-pitch it, that still counts. It includes vehicles. If you don't comply they can forcibly remove your mobile dwelling and fine you. To stay longer needs a license, which you won't get. Its protection for anyone who wakes up to find the people who bought the field at the end of the garden are actually travellers who set up camp and intend to live there. They can't and will eventually be kicked off thanks to the 1936 Act. I'm very grateful for this legislation, with travellers having been a sore point in the past in our locality.

The 28 day rule Dexter mentioned applies not to living on an area, but activities carried out there. Its meant to allow normal social activities such as village fêtes, boot fairs, sports events, garage sales and pop festivals. N.B. Dexter- it specifically excludes all forms of vehicle racing !

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5and1Edw8/26/49/section/269

If you can manage you evade objections and the law and live secretly in a mobile structure for 10 years or an illegally erected house for 4 years without running into problems, its assumed its not putting anyone's nose out of joint and you can apply for a 'certificate of lawfulness' to stay there. Camouflage and stealth required?

The following is an interesting read for anyone wanting to live on land that doesn't have planning consent. Personally, we're very happy having a house we live in near our wood and the prospect of a storage shed where we can occasionally spend time or rest during mild pleasant evenings or sunny afternoons, within the spirit of the law.

http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/how-get-planning-permission-non-development-land

There are many people in the UK who want an alternative lifestyle, but the authorities are very intolerant of it. Squatting is now a criminal offence, despite thousands of properties sitting empty as foreign owned investments while many native born people are homeless. During Thatchers era, the 'Convoy' and new age travellers threatened conventions and the State was determined to end it, so Wiltshire Police herded them all into a field in Wiltshire, assaulted them, and trashed all the vehicles. Many would now question just how free the UK is and whose interests the State protects. There is a widely held perception that the agenda of the Super-rich, big business and the military take priority over the little guy trying to live a sustainable peaceful eco friendly lifestyle.
oldclaypaws
 
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Re: I'm looking for a woodland to rent near Chatham

Postby Dexter's Shed » Sun Dec 14, 2014 2:27 pm

oldclaypaws wrote:. N.B. Dexter- it specifically excludes all forms of vehicle racing !



thank god for that, to think we would have to put up with that noise, along with the chainsaws,gas guns and shotguns going off, we just use our adapted mowers to haul logs and things, can we help it if another plot holder is on theirs on the same track, and we want to overtake them :lol:
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Re: I'm looking for a woodland to rent near Chatham

Postby Wendelspanswick » Sun Dec 14, 2014 5:25 pm

oldclaypaws wrote:The UK is a small very crowded but wealthy Island where rather draconian laws have evolved to keep the peace and protect landowners. Other more rural countries have a far more easy going attitude and far more land where more alternative lifestyles are possible; the USA and Ireland for example, where backwoodsmen and travellers abound. Also in impoverished regions such as Africa or South America millions of people have no option to live in some sort of tin shack or plastic sheeting shelter, without sewage systems, safe water or utilities. For them its not an alternative 'dream', but a grinding hardship. They would love to be in a warm flat with a TV and a 9-5 job, to them that is heaven and one of the reasons that so many of them try to escape desperate poverty and come here. They would find your being able to live in a warm house and wanting instead to be in a bender in a woodland very bizarre.

I read up a bit on the detailed history and small-print of planning regulations last night, its tedious but also rather fascinating. There is a game of chess between the authorities allowing what they think is acceptable and necessary to protect property owners, but preventing what they see as contrary to the conventional public interest.

What will surprise many woodland owners is that there are two distinct bits of legislation that apply, one covering buildings (1948), the other earlier one covering mobile dwellings and public health (1936).

The 1948 postwar legislation was designed presumably in the face of the need for massive post-blitz national rebuilding to give some protection to private individuals from huge new public works. In the end, most development ended up being private. Woodlands came under the agricultural bit, which is a useful loophole if you want a non-residential building such as a occasionally used shed. You are entitled to a 'toolstore and shelter' for forestry purposes, there's no minimal area of land, no formal planning application and the structure can be large and just about any materials, you do it under a system called prior notification. You can't live in it though, that would be a 'dwelling'. In a remote location there's realistically nobody likely to be able to monitor how often you stop over in your 'shelter', so an owner can within reason use it quite a bit as an occasional humble retreat provided its not for long continuous periods. National Parks have stricter local byelaws governing all planning, including agricultural buildings. An interesting parallel bit of legislation meant to benefit genuine farmers is after you've started erecting a barn, pig sty or whatever under prior notification you are allowed 5 year temporary permission to have a mobile home on site to tend to animals. If after 5 years you can prove you have a viable farming livestock business, you can then get consent to build a permanent house. The downside to that (for anyone thinking of trying to turn their wood into a farm with a house) is in order to prove you have a viable livestock business, you need a lot of land, a lot of animals and a lot of other kit. You're really talking a large herd of cows, a few hundred pigs, or several thousand chickens, not a goat on a rope tied to a tree.

The 1936 Public Health Act (perhaps a response to mass unemployment and economic hardship, like now), had a section governing mobile dwellings, which will apply to any woodland owner looking to do what Chester wants. Presumably they didn't want hoards of unemployed vagrants roaming the countryside, looking for work, leaving litter, setting up shanty towns in Berkshire, polluting the water supply, spoiling the view and defecating in the bushes. You cannot camp on one site for more than 42 consecutive days or 60 days in any year. You can't move your tent a few feet and re-pitch it, that still counts. It includes vehicles. If you don't comply they can forcibly remove your mobile dwelling and fine you. To stay longer needs a license, which you won't get. Its protection for anyone who wakes up to find the people who bought the field at the end of the garden are actually travellers who set up camp and intend to live there. They can't and will eventually be kicked off thanks to the 1936 Act. I'm very grateful for this legislation, with travellers having been a sore point in the past in our locality.

The 28 day rule Dexter mentioned applies not to living on an area, but activities carried out there. Its meant to allow normal social activities such as village fêtes, boot fairs, sports events, garage sales and pop festivals. N.B. Dexter- it specifically excludes all forms of vehicle racing !

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Geo5and1Edw8/26/49/section/269

If you can manage you evade objections and the law and live secretly in a mobile structure for 10 years or an illegally erected house for 4 years without running into problems, its assumed its not putting anyone's nose out of joint and you can apply for a 'certificate of lawfulness' to stay there. Camouflage and stealth required?

The following is an interesting read for anyone wanting to live on land that doesn't have planning consent. Personally, we're very happy having a house we live in near our wood and the prospect of a storage shed where we can occasionally spend time or rest during mild pleasant evenings or sunny afternoons, within the spirit of the law.

http://www.permaculture.co.uk/articles/how-get-planning-permission-non-development-land

There are many people in the UK who want an alternative lifestyle, but the authorities are very intolerant of it. Squatting is now a criminal offence, despite thousands of properties sitting empty as foreign owned investments while many native born people are homeless. During Thatchers era, the 'Convoy' and new age travellers threatened conventions and the State was determined to end it, so Wiltshire Police herded them all into a field in Wiltshire, assaulted them, and trashed all the vehicles. Many would now question just how free the UK is and whose interests the State protects. There is a widely held perception that the agenda of the Super-rich, big business and the military take priority over the little guy trying to live a sustainable peaceful eco friendly lifestyle.

Very succint but having looked into this as I understand it you are allowed the mobile home on the site of the barn you are building to facilitate the building of the barn and the setting up of the business, not to tend to animals.
The viable business that you need to setup has to be in agriculture but not necessarily involving animals.
Lots of info here:
http://www.fieldtofarm.com
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Re: I'm looking for a woodland to rent near Chatham

Postby oldclaypaws » Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:00 pm

A small field of some 2 acres odd was sold recently near us and I noticed they were starting to rebuild the stone barn on it, very very slowly. A mobile home appeared, and they made it known they were opening a nursery. I suspect they are going down the "Build barn > Mobile Home > business > planning consent" route. When a small back garden building plot is £100,000, and you can get a couple of acre paddock for maybe £25,000, I can see the attraction if you know the regs and have the patience and commitment to follow it through. The 'nursery' doesn't seem to have come to much yet, I think its a token lip-service to the planners.

There are 60 odd Million people in the UK, and 60 odd Million acres. If we all had 1 acre and you were allowed to do pretty much whatever you wanted with it, many households could go down the almost self sufficient route and live off the land. The only problem is that of course 50% of the land is owned by 0.6% of the population, with other large chunks being owned by The Forestry Commission (5%), Pension Funds, The National Trust, M.O.D, Utilities, The Crown, Supermarkets and Foreign Investors. The Duke of Westminster is worth the same as Britains poorest 6 Million people, and the worlds 78 richest Billionaires own half the planets wealth. :?

It seems if you want 'the good life' in the UK, the starting point is a pile of cash, or being very familiar with the tiny loopholes in the planning laws. 'Smallholding' seems the reserve of the better off River Cottage brigade with £500,000 and a 'Chelsea' Tractor, but in countries like France or Poland many if not most modest rural properties come with an acre or two, its no big deal over there.

I don't confess to know the minutiae of planning procedures, but it seems from this article in order to get consent for a mobile dwelling in the UK you have to prove a need to be there 24/7, such as looking after livestock. Not sure building a barn, guarding your nuts from squirrels or keeping the rabbits off your crop would suffice.(?) We're not planning to try it so can't say I'm fussed.

http://homefarmer.co.uk/getting-planning-permission-log-cabins-mobile-homes/
oldclaypaws
 
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