30 July 2013, The one question which land agents are most often asked is “Do I need planning permission for this?”.
In relation to land to be use for equestrian purposes, the answer is often quite complicated.
From a layman’s point of view, keeping horses has many similarities with agriculture but sadly it does not necessarily share the same rights and favourable treatment in terms of planning legislation.
Often planning permission will be required to use land or buildings for the keeping of horses (other than simply using land for grazing) and related uses, or to build stables and exercise areas. How easily such permission can vary greatly.
Equestrian activities can be divided into two broad categories - the first is when horses are kept for personal use, rarely a contentious issue in terms of planning policy unless it involves construction of facilities and especially so if it affects agricultural land.
The second category involves a commercial element to the equestrian use, such as a riding school, livery, or competition facilities when planning authorities will consider a wider range of issues. It would be very sensible to talk through your proposals with a land agent or planning consultant at an early stage.
The final complication arises when there is a house on the land subject to an occupancy condition related either to agricultural or equestrian use of the property. Such conditions affect the value of the property and often need carefully explanation to buyers and lenders alike. In these circumstances it is vital that professional advice is sought early from a land agent or planner.
The guiding rule when buying property for horses is never to assume that just because the land is agricultural you will be able to build your dream yard on it.
Kevin Prince is a land agent with Carter Jonas and has 18 years’ experience buying, selling, and valuing equestrian properties and farmland.