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PLANNING! A hurdle horse owners need to jump

PLANNING! A hurdle horse owners need to jump

The planning system in the UK is like my partners horse! Either; it all seems straight forward and easy until the saddle is put on and then all hell breaks loose! Or I break my collarbone trying to get her in from the field and she then plods around the arena like a donkey on Blackpool beach!

There is no predictable outcome to any situation and the only way to get it right is to let a professional assist.

In each and every case I am instructed, the approach I take will be different. Even though planning policy is in black and white individual interpretation of the legislation varies from county to county and planning officer to planning officer. This is what causes the disparity between cases and why many people are put off by the whole process.

Do I need planning permission?

The short answer is in most cases YES! You will need planning permission for any development that permanently, and in some cases temporarily, alters the use or character of the landscape.

Land used for grazing horses will need planning permission for change of use if the grazing of the horses significantly impacts on the agricultural use. The erection of stables, jumps, gallops and schools will need planning permission if they are to be a permanent structure.

What happens if I don’t get permission?

If you are found to have carried out development or a change of use without formal planning permission then the Local Planning Authority (LPA) can serve an Enforcement notice.

This will require you to either gain retrospective planning permission or remove the development. In my experience it is a much easier process to work with the LPA rather than against therefore an attempt to gain retrospective planning is not always straightforward and if granted can have significant conditions.

I have put up a field shelter and some cross country jumps and have been told I do not need planning?

This is a question I often get asked. Many field shelter suppliers will tell purchasers they do not need planning permission as the structure is on skids and can be moved. This is true! But how many of you actually move these shelters.

If the shelter does not move and there is no evidence it has been moved then you will require planning permission. The same applies for cross country jumps or gallops. If they are in the same place for a length of time you will need to gain planning permission.

It’s expensive to gain planning permission, why would I bother?

This is common misconception, planning fees are set by the local council and can be easily found depending on the type of development and will normally be less than £300. The cost of having a professional make the application will vary but for all of my clients I will provide a fixed fee quote ensuring you don’t have cost spiralling out of control. Simple applications will incur minimum fees but having a professional submit the application provides planning officers with confidence in the application.

Fees can be significant when issues arise but any good professional should be able to identify any issues and will make you aware of these potential costs.

To give you an example of the cost of not gaining planning permission there is a case that saw a LPA make an individual pay £1,230 in fines for not having permission to erect two field shelters and some hard standing. This could have been a straight forward application where the cost of gaining planning would have bene less than his fine.

What next?

It should be remembered that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) promotes a prosperous rural economy therefore your ideas for development should not be discarded before you have discussed what is possible with a professional.

Have a look at what you are doing or what you want to do, whether its 2 acres or 200 acres, and contact Christopher Powell on 01672 515252 or email on for a free no obligation quote and opinion on what is required and what is possible.

Christopher Powell
Written by

Christopher Powell

Rural Practice Surveyor

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