Development involving horses (also referred to as “horsiculture”) can have a negative effect on the appearance of the countryside. With the decline in agricultural jobs an increasing number of small parcels of land are being sold off and purchased by people hoping to keep their horses on these plots, unaware that this is likely to require planning permission. Stables and shelters can be harmful to the appearance of the landscape and jumps, horse boxes and other equipment can be unsightly.
A growing number of farmers are seeking to diversify their activities and commercial equestrian uses such as a livery or riding schools are common options. Alternatively they decide to sell or let farm buildings/land to others to establish a separate business. These uses require planning permission and together with maneges, events, external lighting and high levels of traffic generation can have a greater and more intensive impact on the surrounding area than “hobby horsiculture”.
Additionally, increased use of bridle ways can cause excessive erosion and land can become overgrazed and unsightly.
This guide is intended to clarify the legal position and provide initial advice for anyone intending to use land or buildings for a horse related use.
The list below is not exhaustive but includes common developments which normally require planning permission:
* Curtilage usually means the enclosed area immediately around the house and does not include for instance adjoining fields or paddocks and may not extend to all land in the ownership of the house
Where planning permission is required, in considering planning applications the Local Planning Authority will have primary regard to the Development Plan, ie. The Worcestershire County Structure Plan and Wyre Forest District Local Plan which contain policies and provide the framework for dealing with proposals.
These will normally only be permitted where they are :
The development of commercial uses in rural areas such as riding schools and arenas, stud farms, racing or livery stables will be carefully controlled. Proposals for such uses will be rigorously examined to assess their impact, individually and cumulatively, on the purposes and visual amenity of the countryside especially in the Green Belt and Landscape Protection Areas, and on the local highway network including bridle ways.
Where there is conflict with Development Plan Policy they will not be allowed.
It is always an advantage for such schemes to use existing buildings and put them to a new use rather than building new structures in the countryside.
In considering planning applications the Local Planning Authority will often consult other professional and outside agencies such as, the Highway Authority, the Environment Agency (with regard to pollution of a nearby watercourse/water supply source or to ensure adequate drainage) and the council's Environmental Health Section (with regard to nuisance from smell/flies to nearby residential property).
Wyre Forest House