Mobile Field Shelters and Planning Permission

Mobile Field Shelters and Planning Permission

Did you know that planning permission is not always necessary for a field shelter?

Whether an application for planning permission is necessary will generally depend upon the following:-

(1) Is the shelter is a building? and

(2) What planning “use” will the shelter have?

Is it a “material change of use”?

Even if the field shelter does not become a building thereby obviating the need for planning permission for operational development or engineering works, an application for permission may be necessary for the “change of use” of the land to allow the mobile shelter to be sited.

What is “agricultural use”?

However, if the use is predominantly “agricultural”, then an application may be unnecessary unless, that is,  this new use constitutes a material change of use away from the permitted agricultural use.   Most equestrian use does not come under the planning law category of “agricultural use”, except where the use is purely for grazing and nothing else.

What is “grazing”?

“Grazing” is not defined in the legislation.  However, an informal definition might be where horses are free to graze as they please and not regularly shut in for long periods, and where they eat mostly grass without additional hay or other feed.  This discounts situations where feed is brought in regularly to support an otherwise unfeasible land:horse ratio.  If there is an extant planning permission which expressly includes “equestrian” use, then this will cover a wider range of situations and activities such as schooling.  The wording of any planning documents and the nature of use on the ground is key for determining whether an application for planning permission is needed.

Would it be safer to get expert legal advice?

Unless the situation is clear cut, it is advisable to seek expert advice.  Firstly, this can minimise disagreements with the local planning authority’s enforcement officers.  Secondly, it may be that an expert planning lawyer can advise on whether it may be possible to obtain a certificate of lawfulness based on the existing documentation or use.

If you would like legal advice on this subject, do get in touch with Rachel Rowles Davis using the form on the right.

Written by Rachel Rowles Davis

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