Do I need planning permission to erect a yurt in my garden?
Property Clinic: Ways to increase accommodation to provide for an ever-growing number of grandchildren
Could the yurt be the answer to an overflowing house?
I have a large family with an ever-growing number of grandchildren and I am very limited for space when they arrive for occasions like Christmas, weddings, etc. I have quite a bit of space in the back garden and it might be a pipe dream, but I was thinking of putting a yurt there. I’ve seen some online which have proper decking and they are very impressive. Would I need planning permission? Are they common in Ireland? What would be the first steps I should take?
A yurt is a round tent usually felt covered and would typically be portable. This is because they were traditionally used by nomadic people in central Asia. Yurts are now becoming popular in Ireland particularly in the realm of “glamping” or upmarket camping. A friend of mine returned from such a hotel break recently and loved the experience of sleeping “mid-nature”.
Provision of additional accommodation or useable space in the rear garden is a well-established way of accommodating overflow in family homes, where the requirement for additional space is occasionally an issue.
There are strict controls, however, in terms of planning legislation. The development would be considered a Class 3 development; “The construction, erection or placing within the curtilage of a house of any tent, awning, shade or other object, greenhouse, garage, store, shed or other similar structure.”
To be considered an exempt development, the space cannot be used for permanent human habitation and cannot exceed 25sq m. Open space within the garden should not be reduced below 25sq m by the development and the height of the tent should not exceed 3m.
If you are looking for a more permanent type of structure, there are many companies offering turnkey “garden rooms”, but these tend to be expensive when compared with a temporary yurt. The yurt is aimed at the camper who wants to remove some of the less palatable elements of camping.
Your first step would be to decide if you are looking at a canvas-type structure or something more permanent. If you keep within the parameters of Class 3 development outlined above, you should not have an issue with planning. A site visit by your local chartered building surveyor may help in choosing the best location for the structure and help you to remain within the planning restrictions.
The additional space would bring great enjoyment to your grandchildren and perhaps some welcome peace and quiet to the main house.
Noel Larkin is a chartered building surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie