Shows face threat from new planning laws

  • Event organisers may have to get planning permission for shows on agricultural land if new law is successfully introduced

    Running costs for shows and events held on agricultural land could increase dramatically, while smaller shows and charity events could fold altogether, if proposed changes to planning rules become law.

    Currently, temporary events, from car boot sales to horse trials and riding club shows, can be held for 28 days per year without the need to apply for planning permission.

    However, representations have been made to the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) that events such as motor sports and even clay pigeon shooting cause a level of disturbance to the local community that needs regulating. Hence the proposals to change the law.

    An initial consultation paper on changes to the Use Classes Order and Temporary Use Provision was published by the DTLR earlier in the year. The Country Land and Business Association voiced its objections to the changes and stated: “[Events] provide an opportunity to generate essential income for rural businesses, any changes will affect this income and the survival of some businesses.”

    Even local horse trials provide additional income for peripheral businesses such as pubs and B&Bs, so the impact of cancelling an event would be felt by the very community the legislation is seeking to protect.

    British Eventing chief executive Peter Durrant has been monitoring the progress of the legislation since it was proposed and has alerted other disciplines to the risks posed by changes to planning laws.

    “This would cause major difficulties for many event organisers across the disciplines – they would be required to make an application to the local authority, wait for the decision and abide by whatever restrictions were deemed necessary, all of which would take up additional time and money. I would think that we would lobby determinedly against such proposals if they go any further,” he said.

    The consultation period has now ended, but for details of the proposals, visit www.planning.odpm.gov.uk/conindex.htm

    The DTLR is expected to make an announcement about the Temporary Use Provision aspect of the changes – the section that affects equestrian events – before the end of the summer.


    The government announced yesterday (21 August) that the planned changes to the temporary use provision in planning legislation have been scrapped.

    It was acknowledged that the proposed changes would burden event organisers with unnecessary red tape.

    Planning Minister Jeff Rooker said: “The temporary uses provisions are clearly of significant value to rural communities and in particular to farmers. A change to these provisions would ultimately place a burden on rural businesses and run counter to our desire to see greater farm diversification.”

    Read the full story and more news in this week’s Horse & Hound (22 August ), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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