Planning permission for stable yards

Planning permission for stable yards

Posted on 30. Jun, 2011 by in Let's talk stables

It’s a myth that timber stables do not require planning because they are a ‘temporary structure’ – a myth that could involve a lot of unnecessary expense and trouble.

Planning permission is essential when building commercial stables and also for the majority of private stables. At Scotts we appreciate surrounding countryside, architecture and sight lines because we know it’s key to the successful design and building of your yard.  If you’re about to build a new yard, or buy new timber stables, planning permission is a really important factor.

If you think putting in a simple timber stable in your own yard or field is nobody’s business, think again!  Without the appropriate permissions, not only it is highly likely that you’ll have to take it all down, but you may lower your chances of being granted planning permission in the future.

There are planning policies and guidelines in place to protect the surrounding countryside, and generally any new development has to fit in – not only in appearance, but also its use must be considered to be ‘appropriate.’ It’s best to stay safe and always assume that you’ll need planning permission.  If your stables are for commercial purpose – livery yard, stud farm or riding school – then you will certainly need permission. Most domestic stables and even field shelters will also require planning permission, and it can take up to four months to be granted.

Firstly, talk to the planning officer at your Council.  They will have a local development plan which will outline the relevant planning policies and guidelines, which might affect your stables or yard, these can vary from place to place, but are likely to include information about appearance, size, location, drainage, highways issues etc.  

Secondly, have a thorough and professional application to send, complete with detailed drawings. Zoe Dolan, our Stabling Manager says; “At Scotts we are happy to offer advice about preparing an application and supply drawings to submit to the planning office.”

Bear in mind also that your local authority may request you have a particular type of roof tile or a colour for the wooden cladding, or require a certain window style to match the local tradition.

To increase your chances of a speedy approval, you can do the following:

  • Discuss your proposal with your local planning department
  • Informally approach neighbours to gauge their reaction.
  • Try not to pick a remote location for the stables i.e. in the middle of a field. Councils tend to favour a new development that blends in with existing buildings.
  • Don’t plan anything too bizarre or unnatural, and always remain polite to the planning officer- if you are unsuccessful, take on board their advice and re-apply.
  • Don’t forget to include any lighting plans in your application, i.e. for your sand school; you could have problems with this at a later date so it’s best to address the issue early.
  • Many planning applications fail because they haven’t been put together properly and all issues addressed, it is well worth considering asking a professional organisation to do this on your behalf, thereby removing all the hassle and aggravation. Scotts can help to do this, but we also recommend Equestrian Design, who specialise in this type of work.  

Finally, don’t go ahead and build without permission- it’s just not worth it! Acting sensibly and planning carefully will get you on the road to making your stable dreams come true.

For more help in planning your ideal timber stable yard phone Scotts on 01832 732366 or e-mail:


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