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Equestrian Facilities Planning Permission Guide

Equestrian Facilities Planning Permission Guide

If you own a piece of land, you can build whatever you’d like on it without permission, right? Wrong. Even as a landowner you may need planning permission when building facilities for horses. It all depends on whether the facilities are used for agricultural or equestrian purposes.

What constitutes agricultural or equestrian use can be confusing. In this article, we’ll clear up some of the confusion so that you stay on the right side of the law.

Agricultural Land vs Equestrian Land

Planning permission is required when changing agricultural land into equestrian land. While it is okay to keep horses for agricultural purposes — grazing, keeping livestock — keeping them for equestrian use, such as horse riding, will change the purpose of the land and you will therefore require planning permission for building facilities on it.

What is considered agricultural?

You can keep horses on your land and it still be considered agricultural, but only if:

  • You are specifically keeping the horses as livestock
  • You are using the land exclusively for grazing
  • You will not be constructing stables on the land

If your horses are fed extra food in addition to grazing or are kept in a field for exercising purposes, the land will not be considered as agricultural.

Do I need planning permission for…

  • Keeping horses in a field/grazing land?

No. If you are using the land for agricultural reasons you will not need planning permission.

  • Stables?

The construction of stables will almost always require planning permission regardless of whether they are for personal or commercial use. 

Altering the use of an existing building will be acceptable in planning terms regardless of whether it is for personal or commercial use.

Constructing large stables for commercial use will be subject to a stricter level of scrutiny during the planning permission process.

  • Riding arenas?

Yes, planning permission is required because the grounds are being used for an equestrian facility.

  • Maneges?

Yes, planning permission is required for a manege. Building a manege will require digging out the ground, putting in drainage and resurfacing, all of which is considered as operational development.

If you’re adapting your land for horses or for any other purpose, consult with an expert to establish the rules regarding planning permission. AT Bone is a diversified agribusiness in Hertfordshire. We provide a variety of services for the agricultural, sports, construction and biomass sectors, ensuring each of our clients receive the service they need while staying compliant with the law. 

We’re experts in our field — and we can be experts in yours, too. Just give us a call today to find out how we can help transform your land.


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