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Do I Need Planning Permission For Stables?

Home » Do I Need Planning Permission For Stables?

The need for planning permission for stables will depend on whether the stables fit within the permitted development criteria of your local area. You may need to contact your local planning authority (LPA).

The world of planning permission can be a tricky one to get your head around! Whether you’re looking at Internal Stables, Wooden External Stables, American Barns or Field Shelters, we’re offering some advice on how to approach your stabling project…

There are many factors that determine whether you need planning permission for stables or not. The purpose of planning permission is to ensure that buildings are safe and do not negatively affect the surrounding area. It will take into consideration the appearance of your stabling to ensure it is in keeping with the landscape and evaluate the impact it with have on local facilities, such as roads. Planning permission isn’t so much about the size of the project but its location and intended use.


“Whether or not planning permission is necessary will depend on whether the stables fit within the permitted development criteria of your local area” Imogen Johnson, Your Horse (2017). Get in touch with your Local Planning Authority.

  • Stables are being built outside the curtilage of the garden, meaning the land immediately surrounding it.
  • The stables require footings, such as foundations or a concrete slab.
  • Building a new infrastructure for stabling such as an American Barn.
  • Making a major change to your building, eg building an extension.
  • Change the use of your building.
  • To use land and/or buildings for keeping horses for recreational or commercial purposes.
Planning Permission for Stables

Do I Need Planning Permission For Stables?


When considering whether to utilise garden space for stabling, be sure to check the deeds of your house for potential restrictions, such as a covenant that confirms you cannot keep hooved animals in your garden. Here are points to consider…

  • The building must not exceed 50 per cent of your garden area.
  • They must be at least five metres away from the house and the boundary of the garden.
  • The stables should be for private and not commercial use.

However, it is always best to get in touch with your LPA to confirm this. You may have to inform them that the stable construction will blend in with the area, your land won’t depreciate with horses on it and that the muck heap will not be an environmental risk. Furthermore, you will have to assure neighbours that noise and smell will not be a problem and have a plan for your manure disposal.


Diversification in farming has seen agricultural building owners installing Internal Stables to provide an additional form of income. The fact that you aren’t actually building a new infrastructure often tricks people into thinking planning permission may not be necessary. One thing you must be aware of is the need to declare a change in use. Unfortunately, stabling does not easily fall into the category of permitted development rights, that agricultural buildings generally do.

“A change of use of land or buildings requires planning permission if it constitutes a material change of use. There is no statutory definition of ‘material change of use’; however, it is linked to the significance of a change and the resulting impact on the use of land and buildings. Whether a material change of use has taken place is a matter of fact and degree and this will be determined on the individual merits of a case. If planning permission is required for change of use, there may be permitted development rights which allow change of use without having to make a planning application.” GOV.UK, 2019.


American barns are usually considered for the larger developments such as livery yards, riding schools etc and they are designed to keep everything under one roof, from loose boxes, tack rooms, feed stores, even offices, reception areas and toilet blocks. Barns that are not for agricultural purposes will always require planning permission.

Here are 5 important things to consider when applying for planning permission…

  1. It’s very important to think about site access… Not only for ease of access for individuals using the barn to stable their horse/s but also for the large machinery who will need to gain access through the construction process.
  2. Always apply for more than you want… it’s easier to compromise and cut down when you’ve given yourself leeway, go for the best-case scenario and give yourself room before reaching the bare minimum of facilities you desire.
  3. Contacting your planning department for advice… Never solely rely on blogs such as this or google to make a decision on how to approach an application, use them for guidance and initial understanding and then contact your LPA to find out exactly what you need to achieve a successful application.
  4. Time-scale… On average, the time that it will take to achieve a successful application is 2-3 months, however, we’ve seen it take considerably longer. Give yourself a realistic timescale, consider the likelihood of inspections, neighbour involvement and the efficiently/ workload of your local authority. Don’t go full steam ahead with promising livery space or ordering internal stabling or other equipment before you can be sure of construction dates.
  5. Rural or business benefits… Identifying any rural or business benefits your new structure may offer can aid your application as the National Planning Policy Framework encourages prosperous rural economy and will be considered if relevant to your project.

Our advice would always be to contact your Local Planning Authority to confirm if you require planning permission for your stabling project. Every type of stabling we offer has an argument for planning permission being required, failure to obtain permission for development can result in costly enforcement action and ultimately possible demolition of the building, better to be safe than sorry!

Find Out More on the GOV.UK website. Remember planning permissions vary between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

We always offer advice and guidance with Stable or American Barn applications when you choose Cheval Liberte, take a look now!

Cheval Liberté has been supporting the UK and Ireland equestrian markets for over 20 years and is today considered to be one of the most trusted equestrian partners in the UK & Ireland.