Securing planning permission for a new arena or stables could get harder under the government’s Localism Bill.

The bill, which is expected to be passed later this year, will fundamentally change the planning process and give communities a greater say in the development of their area.

And neighbourhood plans — where new developments can be voted on by locals — could be introduced from 2012.

“Giving more people a greater say will offer those people a chance to say no without considering the importance of an application,” said Country Land and Business Association planning specialist Fenella Collins.

She advised those in rural communities to get involved if a neighbourhood plan is proposed in their area.

But one H&H reader, who asked not to be named, said she would welcome the chance to get involved in equestrian development policy.

“We have nine manèges within one mile of us, and an array of stables, tatty containers, caravans and muck heaps — it is ruining the local area.

“We need a new approach that gives consideration to local people.”

Andy Woodward, of Equine Design planning consultants, said it was too early to tell whether the new rules would impede equestrian development.

“There might be an issue in areas with an existing high volume of equestrian developments and, frankly, there’s good reason then for the planning process to be tough,” said Mr Woodward.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (3 March, 2011)