Getting planning permission for new stables or an arena can be a real headache, but follow our expert tips to make it as hassle-free as possible.

Planning permission: 4 key steps

1. Contact your planning department for advice. This involves them from the outset and you can find out if they have any specific guidelines.

2. Submit your application and drawing to the planning authority.

3. Wait an average of 6 to 8 weeks. The first 3 to 4 weeks are the consultation stage, when the site will be inspected. Neighbours may also be consulted.

4. This is the recommendation stage, when your local authority will either grant or refuse planning permission. They may come back with amendments, such as additional landscaping. Once you have your answer, you will either be able to proceed with your build, or consider the proposed changes.

Planning permission: dos and don’ts

Keep your local authority happy by…

  • Involving your local planning officer from the start and striking up a relationship
  • Keeping the neighbours informed of your plans — this may make them less likely to object
  • Choosing a location close to existing buildings — councils prefer developments to be grouped, rather than spread out across the countryside
  • Taking on board any advice you are given and being honest about your plans
  • Converting an existing building if possible, as councils tend to look more favourably on this

But make sure you don’t…

  • Submit an application that is unrealistic — if you jump in with a proposal for a 20-box yard, don’t be surprised when it is rejected
  • Get cross with planners or be rude — making yourself difficult is unlikely to help your cause
  • Plan anything outlandish — remember that councils like developments to be sympathetic to their surroundings
  • Forget to include any plans for lighting in applications for arenas, as you may have problems with this at a later date
  • Build without permission — while it is possible to get retrospective planning permission in some cases, you may find yourself being told to remove your stables or manege

Read H&H’s complete feature on understanding planning permission in 2 October 2008 issue. If you would like to purchase a back issue contact 01733 385170