Planning Permission for Shelters, Stables and Barns – All You Need to Know

Planning Permission: It’s the phrase that fills most aspiring yard owners with terror; ‘planning permission’. Visions of year-long battles with your local council with virtually no progress made will make anyone feel demotivated, but we’re here to tell you all you need to know about the not-as-complicated-as-it-sounds process. 

Whether your yard needs a few more stables to fit more liveries or you’re after a field shelter to keep your horse dry and warm over winter, planning permission is the first step.

Planning permission depends on the location of the building and the intended use – not the size. A small stable for your 12hh pony is just as likely to need planning permission as your 3 horse field shelter, and it’s up to you to contact the council before investing time and money into working on your yard. 

When do you need planning permission? 

Planning permission will be needed for: 

  • Putting up a new building
  • Adding an extension to a building
  • Changing the use of the building

So whether you are putting up a stable in your back garden, or you’re expanding your livery yard to accommodate more horses – you will need planning permission. 

What is Planning Permission there for? 

Planning permission is about external appearance, use and positioning of a building. It’s there to ensure the building won’t be a burden on your neighbours or the surrounding area, as well as making sure the building is safe. The council will assess the impact the building will have on local facilities such as roads, and lay out restrictions on what the building can be used for. 

What Equestrian Buildings and Facilities Require Planning Permission?

Unfortunately, most of them! You will need planning permission for stables, shelters (if they aren’t mobile), horse walkers, a new arena or solarium, and a concrete hardstanding area. There are a few exceptions to the rule (as you will see below) but if you are unsure, get in touch with the council for advice. 

When do you not need planning permission? 

Temporary stables and field shelters often don’t need planning permission, and this is why a mobile field shelter or stable block is so appealing to many equestrians. 

For you to not need planning permission, your stable or shelter needs to qualify as a temporary building. This means that it: 

  • Must be in one specific location for less than 28 days
  • Be less than 100m squared
  • Take up no more than 25% of your land
  • Be at least 5m away from the boundary of your land

Of course, this means your field shelter or stable must be moved every 28 days, but this is a small price to pay for not having to deal with the hassle of planning consent. Our mobile field shelters and mobile stables are easy to maneuver using galvanised or timber skids. These are great quality and a popular addition to our standard field shelters and stables as, provided your building is moved every 28 days, they negate the need for planning permission. 

Denied Planning Permission 

It’s not all over just because your application was denied. While this is undeniably frustrating, it’s not a reason to give up completely. You have the right to appeal against the planning permission decision, and many people who are denied planning permission after their first application do finally get it later down the line. 

Top Tips for Planning Permission Applications

To secure planning permission, organisation is key. The process always takes far longer than you think, so don’t assume you’ll get planning permission in a few weeks and organise to have your shelter delivered and installed!

Discuss your plans with both the council and your neighbours as soon as you can. If it’s likely your neighbours will have concerns, you’ll need to acknowledge them and accommodate their concerns in your application. 

If possible, try to build a relationship with your planning officer – as they are the person responsible for the final decision. Hiring a consultant to liaise with your planning officer is a good idea, as they will have experience in this area. However, this will add to the cost. 

Above all, flexibility is key when it comes to getting planning permission for your stables or equestrian outbuildings. Be flexible in your design and building size if you can, as well as the location of your building.  

How to Apply

Got everything ready? Apply for planning permission by submitting a form online. Although it can feel a minefield and a never ending number of hoops to jump through – a little organisation will see you through. 

Our Buildings