Do I need planning permission to build stables?

If you're considering building a stable block and unsure if you need planning permission for wooden horse stables, then read our guide.
Do I need planning permission to build stables?

Planning for equestrian buildings, stables and field shelters.

Generally, if you want to build stables on your property, you will need planning permission from your Local Planning Authority (LPA). However, the laws are rather complex and there are exceptions for private leisure stables. In this article, we will look at the rules that apply to different buildings and what you need to do to comply with the law.

This information is drawn from national guidance but as a word of caution local planning and listed building stipulations can and do differ, for this reason you should always seek local clarification.

Mobile field shelters

A mobile field shelter is a temporary, transportable structure, which provides shelter for grazing animals. It features skids, which make it easy to tow. As mobile field shelters are non-permanent structures, you normally* do not require a planning permission in order to build them.In order to satisfy the requirements for a temporary building, the mobile field shelter should:

  • Be moved regularly.
  • Have appropriate means for moving it.

If you decide to put the shelter down in one place, you will need to request planning permission. If a local authority finds out that you are using a mobile field shelter as permanent stables, they could make you take it down. There are exceptions to the rules. You may need planning permission for a mobile field shelter if:

  • Your land is on “designated land”. This includes Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, national parks and the Broads, conservation areas, and World Heritage Sites.
  • The shelter would be built near a listed building. These are properties considered of special architectural or historical interest.
  • Your land is overdeveloped. This means there are already too many structures (such as garages and extensions) on your property.

Contact your LPA before making a decision, so you know exactly what you need to do. It is best to take the time to check over every detail with them. The LPA may have special requirements for the size of the structure, or how it is attached to the land. We do also offer static or fixed field shelters.

Permanent stables

Permanent stables often require planning permission. Let us first look at the case in which you will not need it.You will likely not need planning permission to build, if:

  • The stables are in your garden,
  • The structure does not exceed 50% of your garden area in size,
  • The stables are used for private leisure only - the number of horses must reflect the size of your household.

If instead you want to build stables which do not fit these requirements, you will need planning permission. In both cases, it is your responsibility to make sure that you get in touch with the LPA before you start your build. The local authority may request proof that your land will not depreciate in value with horses on it, or ask for a noise and smell management plan. We do also offer mobile stables on skids.

Land use change (often called change of use)

If your land will be used for a different purpose than it was originally granted permission for, you may need to ask for planning permission. Below are the different circumstances that apply for land use change permission.

  • If the use class of your property stays the same (for example, both uses fall under use class D2), you won’t need permission.
  • If the land will be used for a different, horse-related use, you may need permission.
  • If you plan to use your land in a way that doesn’t fit into any use class, you will need permission.
  • For temporary change of use (up to 28 days per year), you will not need permission. All structures related to the use must be taken down as soon as the event is over.

How to secure planning permission for building stables if you need planning permission, your LPA will direct you to the relevant section of their website when you speak to them. You can generally apply online, via CD, or via post. Download all the documents you need to read or fill out well in advance, so you know what to expect.

You may want to hire an architect or planning consultant to help you submit your application.It is also a good idea to discuss the matter with your neighbours and secure their support before you start the process. You will be more likely to succeed if you are flexible on the design or location of the stables. Make sure to clearly state the benefits of your proposal in your application, such as fulfilling a local need or creating new jobs.

Finally, check with the local building regulations department if you need building regulations’ approval.Applications are expected to be processed within 8 weeks but there at times delays and it is worth thinking ahead rather than expect to get planning permission granted exactly in the 8th week. Do you need help with designing a new stable or to speak with an expert to see what can and can not be done with a timber stable? Click here and we can arrange one of our equestrian building specialists to contact you.

*All information on this page is general and generic, it should not be used as forma planning advice. There are national variations to planning regulations and it is important that you always seek local professional advice or speak to the local planning department.

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