Many people seeking to self-build their own properties might find looking for shipping containers for sale a great move. Many a home has been made by converting them.

However, the problems faced by a family living near Folkestone in Kent are a reminder that it remains vital to get planning permission first.

Dan and Stacey Bond face being told to dismantle their shipping container home at their plot, where they live off-grid amid alpacas, pigs and chickens. The couple, who have a daughter, had previously lived in a converted double decker bus, but during lockdown they decided they needed more space and found a solution in the conversion of two shipping containers into a two-storey home.

They spent over £40,000 converting the home, with solar panels and electric circuitry to power it. 

Unfortunately, they neglected to seek planning permission and enforcement officers from Folkestone and Hythe District Council soon turned up. The local authority has also taken action due to the failure to seek permission to allow camping on the site.

Suffice to say, Mr Bond has been both shaken and stirred by the move. He lamented: “What do the council want? Do they want to give us a house? It’s just insane.”

He added: “We’re trying to be eco-friendly, we’re trying to be sustainable. Even if we did go on the housing list, we’re not going to get a house.”

A possible solution might be to seek retrospective planning permission, but if the council sticks to its guns, the Bond family will be left in a nightmare situation.

Of course, planning permission laws can be very strict; even a conventional housing development built by a mainstream developer can fall foul of such laws, such as the case of a development of 125 houses at Cheadle in Staffordshire, where Persimmon Homes levelled an area of ground without permission in 2021, causing visual obstructions for neighbours. 

Unless Persimmon gets retrospective planning permission granted, some of the homes may have to be demolished. 

This goes to show just how strict planning laws can be for anyone, whether a home is conventional or a shipping container, so getting permission first is a must.

Send us your message or enquiry using the form and someone will get back to you quickly...