Field Gates and Access Tracks

We recently had an enquiry from a past client who was at loggerheads with his local authority and neighbours over something as simple as a field gate and access track. It appears that the gate in question had been used for access by contractors during construction of his outdoor arena. The contractors had widened the access from a single gate to a double gate and had laid stone along the existing dirt track leading to the arena site. The issue came following completion of the arena when neighbours contacted the local enforcement officer suggesting works had been undertaken without planning permission. The fact is the new arena had planning approval (we secured that) the alterations to the existing access did not.

What followed was a 12 month battle involving the client, his neighbours, the local planning enforcement officer and the parish council. The client found himself inadvertently at the centre of a village pantomime with councillors questioning whether he even had a right of access to his site in the first place.

The client contacted us for advice and fortunately we were able to resolve the dispute before it spiralled completely out of control. The matter was eventually dealt with by a simple detailed application avoiding the need for lengthy and expensive appeals. In the words of the client hallelujah!

The moral of this story, don’t allow contractors to undertake works which are not part of your planning approval. This includes enabling works that the contractor may suggest for ease of construction, widening access points and stoning-up tracks are typical examples. If access to the site is an issue look to include any changes needed as part of your application. If changes have to be made due to unforeseen circumstances such as stoning-up a field track to provide construction traffic with access during inclement weather, make sure the track is reinstated following the works at the contractors expense or it could become an expensive liability.

Need advice on whether or not planning is needed for your equine project? Contact one of our team.