6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Horse ownership in Kent

PUBLISHED: 19:16 14 May 2016 | UPDATED: 19:16 14 May 2016

Horse ownership can be a complex business

Horse ownership can be a complex business

Archant

Horse ownership can be a complex business, even if the animals are only kept for private leisure use.

Most developments of land or buildings for equestrian purposes will require planning permission of some sort and unless the horse is purely grazing, there may be change of use issues if the field was previously farmland.

The difference between keeping and grazing a horse is an important one. When horses are being kept (which usually means given 
additional food, for example in the form of hay, straw or horse nuts), the land is then seen as no longer being used for agriculture.

In the same way, if a field has been subdivided into ‘pony’ paddocks or farm buildings have been converted to stables or livery use, this may require permission for change of use.

New structures usually require planning consent, from new stables to riding arenas, permanent jumps or cross-country courses or even flood lighting. There are exemptions, such as the use of mobile field shelters for horses, which do not normally require permission, as long as they are not fixed to the ground and allow the animal free access in and out.

Temporary uses of land, such as for gymkhanas, jumps in fields or horse shows are also usually allowed, as long as they do not exceed 28 days in a year. So whether you are just thinking about buying your first horse, or considering building new stables or other permanent structures related to equestrian activities, planning issues should be kept in front of mind.

Some instances where planning permission is usually required are listed below. These are just as likely to apply to someone buying a single pony as to a riding school:

• Using farm land for equestrian activities such as riding schools or regular exercise and training of horses

• Building of stables, indoor/outdoor riding areas, permanent jumps and other structures related to equestrian activities

• Conversion of farm buildings to equestrian use

It is also worth remembering that planning regulations relating to equestrian uses can also be more stringent in National Parks or Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

In addition to planning issues, horse owners also should be aware whether they are affected by business rates, which can apply to stables, arenas and fields used for equestrian purposes.

For those claiming Basic Payments under the Common Agricultural Policy, while horse-grazing land can remain eligible, care should be taken to ensure that cross-compliance rules are adhered to.

Unfortunately, the cost of horse ownership and scarcity of land for grazing in some areas does mean that we are hearing of more instances of fly grazing, where horses are abandoned and illegally left to roam free. This poses problems of animal welfare, but also risks public safety when horses escape onto roads and it threatens the livelihoods of farmers and landowners affected by damage caused to crops and fencing.

However, recent changes in the law, following lobbying by the CLA and others, mean that the horses left illegally can now be taken to a place of safety immediately, as long as the police are notified within 24 hours. If no owner is identified within four days, the landowners can then re-home the horses or sell them privately.

Farmers and landowners can also take action to protect their land from fly-grazing, by making it difficult to access water or by cutting off water supplies if the land is not being used and fully checking the details of anyone wanting to use the land for grazing.

Horses are an integral part of rural life for many people and bring an enormous amount of pleasure, whether they are used for racing, show jumping or weekend rides in the Kent countryside. As with any land use, it brings its own responsibilities and ensuring that both the fields and buildings comply with planning law is important as the penalties can be significant.

FIND OUT MORE

In June, The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is publishing a new handbook on Horses and the Law. For full details go to the CLA website: www.cla.org.uk.

w

More from Out & About

Nicknamed 'The Bubble', we take a look at a place famous for oysters, pristine pebble beaches and stunning sunsets. Whitstable really is one of kind

Read more

Our county town has always had a lot to offer, blending a riverside setting and important history with a modern town centre and an expanding population

Read more

Smallhythe Place is celebrating a triple milestone this summer with a special exhibition and live performances

Read more
Friday, June 28, 2019

From an underground, shell-covered cave to one of the world's smallest theatres, Margate has so much to see and do. We have gathered some great things to do when you visit

Read more

Put away your digital devices and get back to nature with a few nights under canvas and the starry night skies this summer

Read more
Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Kent has a wealth of beautiful gardens to visit and throughout the open garden season you'll find an array of stunning choices. Here's a selection of our favourites

Read more
April 2019
Monday, June 24, 2019

Enjoy a short urban walk rather than a country stroll this month, as we follow the course of the ancient Pent stream

Read more
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Try our pick of some of Kent's best boat trips: With everything from a wildlife spotting jaunt down the Stour to a jetboat adventure on the Medway, there's something for everyone

Read more
Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Kent has many villages that exude historical charm and a traditional village atmosphere beloved by locals and visitors. Here we pick 10 of the prettiest to explore

Read more

Sandwiched between two of Kent's trendiest towns, this peaceful little seaside resort has been overlooked for years. It's time for Herne Bay to take centre stage

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life