Rub-a-dub-dub

Hot tubs do not require planning permission, a reporter determining a case in southeast Scotland has ruled (DCS Number 400-019-975).

The reporter identified the key factors he needed to assess in relation to whether the eleven hot tubs, sited at park lodges, required planning permission were their size, permanence and degree of physical attachment to the land (Cardiff Rating Authority v Guest Keen Baldwin Iron & Steel Co Ltd [1949] and Skerritts of Nottingham Ltd v SSETR & Harrow LBC [2000]).

Each hot tub was designed to accommodate up to six people and measured about 2 metres long by 2 metres wide by 1 metre high, the reporter observed. He acknowledged that they required connection to an electricity supply, but, using caravans as an analogy, connecting a structure to existing utilities would not, of itself, amount to a material operation, he determined.

In summary, the reporter found that the hot tubs were not too large and heavy to be moved with relative ease, which was an indication of their lack of permanence. Neither were they physically attached to the decking nor to the ground in any substantial way and no building work was involved in their installation or relocation. On this basis, he found that the hot tubs were chattels (moveable property) and that their installation and relocation did not and would not involve any material operation. Neither, he judged, had any change of use taken place because their use was clearly ancillary to that of the lodges as holiday accommodation or as a permanent residence. Consequently, the hot tubs did not require planning permission, he concluded.

Section 24.2 of DCP Online covers static holiday caravan parks and section 24.1 covers residential park homes.