Ask H&H: change of use for an equestrian property

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    Q: I purchased an equestrian property last year for private use. I recently received an enforcement notice from the council, threatening to demolish my house.

    Apparently, planning for the property strictly requires it to be used as a stud and that the residential property is ancillary to this. Can I apply for a change of use?
    RS, Berkshire

    You could submit a change of use application, but it is important to open up a positive dialogue first with your local authority planning department.

    “This will show you are actively dealing with the matter,” said equine lawyer, Sarah Jordan, of Daltons Solicitors.

    “The planners may be open to you putting in a change of use application to part-private and part-livery, for example.

    “Another option, albeit a potentially costly one, is for you to establish a breeding programme that would satisfy the planning condition.

    “It would be vital to verify the exact requirements of the relevant condition to ensure you do not incur additional expense and inconvenience in connection with a breeding programme which is not capable of meeting the specified requirements.”

    According to Sarah, your current private use of the property appears to be in breach of planning law, and therefore cannot continue.

    “If you ignore the enforcement notice, you risk losing your home,” she explained.

    “The solicitor who dealt with the purchase of your property should have brought the planning condition to your attention prior to exchange of contracts. The restriction may have been missed and could therefore form the basis of a professional negligence claim.”


    Daltons Solicitors, tel: 01730 262816 www.equinelawyer.co.uk

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound (21 January, ’10)

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