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AG8  Criteria for Equestrian and Livery Activities.  Policy

Proposals for new livery stables or other commercial equestrian activities involving the overnight accommodation of horses located within the Green Belt will only be permitted where:

(i) an existing residential property or existing property suitable for conversion to residential use is available on or nearby the site;
(ii) the buildings proposed would not be visually intrusive within the surrounding area in terms of their scale, siting, design or external appearance; and
(iii) adequate provision has been made for highway access and on-site car parking necessary to accommodate visitors to the site.

Ancillary uses such as open storage and the setting out of jumps and circuit areas will primarily be determined in terms of their impact upon the character and visual appearance of the area and, where necessary, their impact will be regulated by means of appropriate planning conditions.

Reasoned justification :

12.24 Equestrian activities are an increasingly popular form of countryside recreation and along with commercial livery services are often considered to be acceptable within an agricultural setting. These uses can not only introduce new opportunities for employment and for the diversification of the rural economy but can also provide an acceptable conversion of formerly agricultural premises.

12.25 National planning policy guidance indicates that as with all proposals within rural areas, special care should be taken to minimise the effect of development involving horses upon the appearance of their surroundings. Policy AG8, therefore, sets out the criteria which the Local Planning Authority will normally apply to such proposals. These criteria primarily relate to normal considerations related to visual impact and highway and servicing arrangements. However, they also include the availability of residential accommodation.

12.26 Depending on the scale and nature of livery stables and equestrian activities involving the overnight accommodation of horses, it is often necessary for residential accommodation to be available nearby to enable someone to supervise the welfare and safety of horses throughout both day and night. New dwellings are, however, not normally acceptable within the Green Belt. Nevertheless, the presence of uses requiring constant supervision often makes it difficult to resist subsequent applications for new buildings which would otherwise be unacceptable. Policy AG8, therefore, seeks to ensure that new horse related developments are not allowed to develop in locations currently lacking suitable accommodation in order to prevent the proliferation of new dwellings within the Green Belt.