Gulliver’s Travels in Broad Oak: Planning Officer’s View
Mr Kevin Jones, planning enforcement/monitoring officer with Carmarthenshire County Council, has a different opinion on the matter of Mr Andrew Robinson-Redman’s field at Broad Oak (West Wales News Review, December 9th).
He says: “I visited Mr and Mrs Redman prior to them siting the stables on the land and advised them that a previous application for stables in the exact location had previously refused.
“They told me that they would proceed anyways against my advice and apply retrospectively for planning permission.
“No application was submitted so an enforcement notice was issued to seek removal of all materials imported forming a track to the area where the stables were sited along with the stables.
“The siting of stables on the land for the sole use of housing horses changed the use of the land to an equine use which requires planning permission.
At no time have the LPA [local planning authority] witnessed agricultural animals on the land and even if they were introduced it would still be a mixed use of ‘Equine and Agriculture’ requiring planning permission.”
If only the regulations were clearer. As reported previously, it is a complicating factor that interpretation of the regulations varies from authority to authority, and within an authority, depending on the weight given to factors such as the number of times a horse owner plans to move a shelter, and the materials of which the shelter is made. Wyre Forest District Council in Worcestershire, for example, publishes ‘A Planning Guide to Horses and Stables’, which says “Mobile field shelters may not need planning permission, depending on their size, construction, its physical attachment to the ground and its intended degree of permanence” (my italics).
Too much scope for interpretation creates problems both for applicants and for planning officers, because it’s always possible to argue an opposing view, and hard to reach a compromise.