The no-planning homes keeping multi-generational families together during lockdowns

  • Sales of Scandi-style log cabin garden annexes soar during lockdowns
  • Ideal for grandparents or other close family and no planning permission needed1
  • Leading annex provider Norwegian Log has seen sales rocket by 35% over the last year and enquiries by 50%
  • Most purchasers are aged over 70 and want to move closer to their children

With lockdowns and travel restrictions making it difficult for families to see their elderly relatives, a Reading-based log cabin company is having to upscale production of its annexes – that provide an affordable, fuss-free property solution to keeping people safely connected – just to match demand.

Helping a growing number of savvy pensioners shrewdly sidestep separation issues, Scandi-style log cabin maker Norwegian Log has seen sales of its annexes soar by 35% last year, compared to 2019. The annexes can be built at the bottom of the garden within months and, because they are cleverly classed as ‘transportable’, in most cases don’t need planning permission1.

As one of the country’s longest established annex providers, Norwegian Log builds bespoke lodges from solid wood, which makes them warm in the winter and cool in the summer, with a ski chalet vibe.

Older generations are reaping the benefits of purchasing these high quality-build annexes as they can be conveniently sited within the garden of a son, daughter or close relative. The elderly residents are then within easy reach if help is needed and long distance drives to see each other can be a thing of the past.

Prices start from just over £50,000 for a one bedroom log annex – a fraction of the cost of a bricks and mortar equivalent – so many downsizing pensioners are able to save sizable sums for their retirement, travel or a rainy day. The cabins are built all on one level and can be fitted out with the latest 21st century fixtures and fittings.

Research from Norwegian Log showed that 50% of pensioners interested in buying an annex this year live between 20-100 miles away from their family, and the main reason for their move was to be closer to their loved ones.

Customer Muriel Seamon owns a two bedroom annex sited in her daughter Jennie’s Kent garden. Jennie Mathews said: “It has really put my mind at rest having mum so close to us through this long lockdown especially over Christmas.  It means she has not been in isolation alone as we are all in her ‘bubble’. We were able to cook Christmas dinner together and spend the day together as a family.

“In the first lockdown we did her shopping for the first month and we would leave it at her door and didn’t go in, but she is fiercely independent and in the end we worked out the safest time for her to shop on her own as she was so determined to do so. I was working from home so it was lovely to work in the garden together during my lunch breaks.”

Annex owner Dave Swift lives in a lodge next to the Somerset home of his daughter Kelly. He said: “One great benefit of living in the family garden is that we are in the same bubble enabling us to meet and help each other out. I am quite sure I would have felt much more isolated had I still been in my previous house.”

Nick Forrester of Norwegian Log said: “Lockdowns have prompted a flood of enquiries from families who realise that living miles away from their elderly relatives, particularly those on their own, makes it very difficult to support them at a time when they need supporting the most. Our annexes can be built in a back garden within weeks and provide peace of mind for both parties.

“The prospect of high residential care costs means that many families were already seeking alternative solutions to looking after their loved ones but the pandemic has made them realise they should do something sooner rather than later.”


For further information contact: Emma Mason on 07762 117433

Notes for editors:

1 Planning permission – Norwegian Log’s granny annexes are classed as transportable mobile homes and so if sited within the curtilage of your property – the garden, essentially – for the exclusive use of a family member, you will not need planning permission. The annex has to remain ancillary to the house (i.e. not legally separated for sale or rental to a non-family member). Norwegian Log recommends that you apply for a Certificate of Lawful Use, which confirms that situation, and it provides this service as part of its Granny Annex package. If the annex is NOT a mobile home, you will require planning permission and building regulations approval. The planning office may then dictate the annex’s size, facilities, etc.