A horse owner from west Wales has been fined more than £1,000 for failing to move his mobile field shelters in what is thought to be the first conviction of its kind.
And stable industry experts and councils have warned that such mobile structures must be moved several times a year to avoid prosecution (news, 23 June).
Andrew Redman put up two field shelters — both on skids with hooks on either side — when he moved to Carmarthenshire last year. He believed he was within the law.
But a planning enforcement officer later wrote to him stating that he needed planning permission, because the council deemed the structures to be permanent.
Carmarthenshire County Council said Mr Redman was given the opportunity to move the shelters but failed to do so.
He appeared in court on 18 August and was fined £1,230 and given 28 days to move the mobile shelters.
Field shelter expert Paul Machin from Prime Stables said it was the first time he had heard of anyone being found guilty in such a case.
But he warned: “As soon as any ground works are laid then it’s a building, not a mobile piece of equipment.
“Officially you should move them every six weeks or so, but councils generally do not have the resources or time to monitor this.”
A spokesman for Carmarthenshire County Council told H&H the field shelter had been in the same position for more than a year.
He added that Mr Redman had brought material on to the land and created hard standing, which changed the use of the land and required planning permission.
Mr Redman insisted the shelters were on “washed riverstone, not concrete” and that they were “fully movable”.
But the council spokesman added: “Just because it has skids does not make it mobile. If it sits in the same position for several months it forms a degree of permanence. We expect them to be moved at least five or six times a year.”
H&H can reveal that a second horse owner in Carmarthenshire has been served a notice to move their two shelters.
“This one has been in the same place for two years,” the council spokesman added.
This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (15 September, 2011)