Q: I’m confused about when it’s necessary to have planning permission for paddocks. Do “mobile” shelters need permission? And do I need a change of planning if I feed my horse hay over the winter? PB, Sussex
A: Generally, local authorities will accept that a “genuinely movable” field shelter does not need planning permission. Genuinely movable means that it can be towed by a quad, a tractor or a 4×4 vehicle. Buildings fixed in a permanent position with a base, even though they may be on skids or wheels, are not permissible.
The right to place a field shelter is covered by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995, and the local authority may withdraw this right by imposing an Article 4 Direction. Find out more by contacting your local planning authority.
On a general note, if you are thinking of using a mobile shelter it is worth considering where it will be placed on the land to minimise its visual impact. Positioning it next to a hedge and/or away from a road or footpath can help. If your land is within a National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty this will be doubly important.
Regarding the feeding of hay to your horse over the winter, the need for planning permission for change of use does not revolve solely on whether hay is fed. The use of land for grazing horses does not require planning permission provided the majority of the animal’s food is obtained from the land. This is considered to be an agricultural use of the land. However, if the grazing is part of a commercial activity, such as livery, this will require planning permission.
If horses are turned out on the land for exercise and the grazing is incidental to keeping them on land — as opposed to grazing them — it is not considered to be an agricultural use and will require planning permission for change of use.
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