If you are looking to purchase a property with the intention of constructing equestrian facilities, we recommend that you undertake our free planning constraints health check before you take the plunge.

The words ‘subject to planning’ are often found on sales particulars and in our opinion these three words should be fully explored before submitting an offer, especially if the promise of equestrian facilities is one of your main reasons for considering the property.

Planning permission is required for any permanent equestrian construction including stables, a permanent field shelter, or an arena, and it may even be required to simply keep horses/ponies in a field. Structures for keeping recreational horses are not covered by the same permitted development rights as those that apply to agricultural holdings.

We are aware of cases where people have been fined £1,230 by the local authority for erecting mobile field shelters on existing hardstanding without the necessary approval. If your Local Planning Authority believes a development contravenes planning, they may well take enforcement action which will result in the need for a retrospective application with no guarantee of success, a fine, or ultimately having the development removed from site and the land reinstated, the costs for which will be borne by the land owner.

Even if equestrian facilities already exist at the property it is worthwhile checking that the required approvals have been obtained. Without approval there is a real risk that the existing facilities could be subject to similar levels of enforcement in the future. It may be that the equestrian facilities have been constructed and used without planning permission as part of some gentleman’s agreement with the neighbours, but bear in mind this counts for very little should the neighbours or their sympathetic views change.

If you are looking to sell an equestrian property remember solicitors will often warn buyers off a property that is in breach of planning permission, and this will reflect on the price. Incorrect or absent planning permission will almost certainly show up in conveyancing and could cause a sale to fall through.

Such cases are far more common that you may be led to believe, whether you are buying or selling an equestrian property it pays to be informed and this is where our free planning service can help.