Stable Blocks

Most stable blocks will need planning permission unless you decide on a smaller mobile building, these sometimes do not require planning permission as are not a permanent structure.

There are a number of factors that are taken into consideration before planning permission is granted, and this is typically decided by your Local Planning Authority. This guidance better prepares you for applying for planning permission, and the initial arrangements you need to consider.

Stable block requirements

Common developments and building work that are required for keeping horses including stables, exercise pens, ménages and vehicle access, all of which require planning permission. Stable blocks have a number of requirements before they are generally accepted. They should be situated within or next to an existing farm building or hedgerow to provide a screening from eyesight. There are also size and height limitations that must be kept to in order for the permission to be accepted. Discuss your plans with your local planning authority as early as possible. Plan well in advance as the planning process may take longer than expected.

Planning permission exceptions

You may not need planning permission for a stable if it is put up within the curtilage of your house. This is the enclosed area around your house, and does not include adjoining fields. This condition is only exempt from planning permission if the horses are to be kept for personal use and not for commercial purposes and depends on the size and height of the proposed stable.

Commercial stable blocks

Livery yards or riding school establishments will also need a licence from Department of Environment, Farms and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Commercial stable blocks will require sufficient planning in terms of vehicle access and accounting for increased traffic to the area. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 needs to be addressed, with evidence to show that this has been considered in order to keep both staff and members of the public safe. The British Horse Society can offer more information on these guidelines.


In the countryside, there are a variety of elements that are taken into consideration before planning permission is granted. Stables blocks can often be unsightly or harmful to the appearance of the surrounding environment so your local planning authority will bear this in mind as well as your neighbour’s opinions. Speak to any neighbours who may be affected as early as possible. This will give you have time to work through any objections and accommodate their concerns in your final applications. .The decision must also be made in accordance with the local development plan and government policy.

The NPFF (National Planning Policy Framework) aims to promote protection of the environment with new building developments and this will too be considered before planning permission is decided on. Because of this, it is worth showing how your proposed stable block may benefit the local community and economy such as using local traders and materials.

Be flexible with your design and location as this could make the difference between having an application accepted or refused.