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How Easy Is it to Get Planning Permission On a Cob House

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

One of the things that put people off building your new home or a studio or office in the garden is the dreaded planning permission.

The good news is that in recent years there is LESS red tape and it is easier than ever to build on your land. ESPECIALLY if your plans are innovative and eco-friendly – such as a Cob house.

Let’s start with how the rules apply to building a garden office or studio...

...somewhere where you can give yourself some peace and quiet, somewhere that allows your creativity to flow, and somewhere that you don’t have to worry about the kids running in and out and interrupting your Zoom call. (Remember that BBC interview with the poor chap talking about North Korea where the whole family invaded his space and interrupted the interview?).

Garden studio made from mud
Garden studio Made from Cob

Unless you are in a conservation area you won’t need planning permission for a garden studio or office, or even a reasonably-sized extension. There are some restrictions like height, and distance from the road amongst other things, depending on where you are and your property’s footprint so you do need to check with your local planning department.

If you are in a conservation area, an AONB, SSI, National Park, or SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) it doesn’t mean you can’t get permission, it just means you need to apply. That’s something we can help with if you need it.

So if you’re thinking of building a garden studio or office and planning permission is not an issue, then you can let your creativity run free in terms of how and with what you build it.

You’ll want to add value to your house and the best way to do that is with a Cob studio as opposed to a wooden home office. It will be completely customisable and bespoke to you, look more beautiful and has all of the energy efficient benefits of a cob house.

In fact a Cob studio is by far the most eco friendly building on the planet, because you dig the soil from where ever you are for free. (therefore no embodied energy of the manufacturing or transporting of materials.)

So if you need or want to work from home why not come on a 4 day course with us (more info here) and learn to build yourself an amazing eco friendly garden studio that will be a total joy to work in and will cost you just around £2000. Or you could build one for just a few hundred pounds if you have time on your hands to be resourceful. My 4 day course teaches you how to be incredibly resourceful with how you build, and how to get many of your materials for free. I also explain how to do it if you have more money and less time. It could add about £30,000 to the value of your house or more depending on how well you make it.

Alternatively you could pay us to build you one which would be about £30,000, depending on where you are in the country, and how big you want it, a smaller one would cost less.

OK, so onto the biggie – building a WHOLE HOUSE…

Yellow house made from mud
A house made from cob

You can build a cob house on cheap land and limit the planning restrictions with a little bit of prior knowledge (which I will teach you on the 4 day course). For example, to qualify for Paragraph 80 of the planning law a house should be of innovative design and inspires others to be eco friendly. So in theory, you could build yourself a dream cob house in the middle of nowhere with no or few planning restrictions by applying for the paragraph 80 rule.

Another way is applying to build on agricultural land and rearing livestock that have live births and may need help at night. Lama and alpaca farming have become very popular as a result.

I’ll explain all of this and more on my 4 day complete course (details here). I’ll even explain how to de-contaminate your land with plants. Contaminated land can be bought incredibly cheaply so together with your low cost Cob House you could end up with your rural dream for next to no cost.

It’s all about getting creative and resourceful. I’ll teach everything you need to know to make the cob building of your dreams. Find out more information here :


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