Planning for chickens - a poultry matter?

Planning for chickens - a poultry matter?

by Pippa Robertson

As anyone who follows Aurora Planning on Facebook will know, this half of the team recently adopted three chickens, and now fresh eggs appear in the garden each morning as if by magic.  Somehow these eggs have yet to work their way into the promised cakes for the office, but that is perhaps not the chickens’ fault!

Before bringing the girls home though, the first task was to build a run that foxes couldn’t get in to (and the chickens couldn’t get out of).  Now one of the questions that many people ask when they see this is “do you have planning permission for that?” Read on for the answer...

Planning permission is required for all building works, including building a chicken run, with there being a number of different ways in which planning permission can be granted.  These include the grant of consent under what’s known as a development order, which brings us to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992 (the GPDO).

The GPDO lists classes of development which planning permission does not need to be applied for, one of which is the erection of any building or enclosure within the land around a dwelling house, provided it complies with certain criteria with regards to size and use, and it is required solely for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house.  Aspiring urban small-holders might be interested to note that “a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house” expressly includes the keeping of poultry, as well as bees, birds or other livestock for the domestic needs or personal enjoyment of the occupants of the dwelling house.  As my chicken run also meets all the criteria in terms of size, the good news is that the answer is yes, the chickens are fully above board in planning terms!

But planning isn’t the only thing that needs to be thought about before every garden gets its own chickens.  Many houses have burdens in the title deeds which prohibit the keeping of poultry, and it’s always worth checking this before bringing your own chickens home.  Some may of course decide to then ignore this, but that is a risky approach to take, and a legal view should be sought first!  In addition, care needs to be taken in terms of environmental health to ensure that no nuisance is caused to close neighbours.  And of course there may be additional restrictions if living in a listed building or in a conservation area.  

Subject to ticking off these small points though, a few feathered friends are great characters to have around, and waking up to fresh eggs each morning is simply a joy.  Now it just needs someone to make them into cake!

If you have any questions about what may or may not be built under the GPDO please do not hesitate to contact me on to find out more about us and how we can assist you, please visit our website:

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Thanks for reading!


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