- Planning permission is required for the carrying out of any building operations, or a material change of use, and the construction of an arena in your own paddock is likely to involve both. Therefore, planning permission will almost certainly be required, and most reputable arena contractors should be able to deal with this for you as part of their contract.
- You will need to make a planning application to your local council, who will be able to provide you with the form and tell you what the fee is. You will need to provide a set of drawings with your application, so you may need to engage the services of an architect. It may also help to provide a supporting statement to justify your proposals.
- In our experience, the planners are typically concerned about minimising the visual impact of your proposals on the landscape (eg through appropriate use of boundary fencing, screening or landscaping, and conditions requiring any jumps to be stored when not in use), details of surface materials and drainage. They also tend to prefer an arena to be constructed near to existing development. The Environmental Agency may also require the arena to be a minimum distance from any wetlands/watercourses to prevent contamination. You should include in your application any proposals for lighting the arena.
- In the first instance, to maximise your chances of approval you should discuss your proposals with your local planner at the council.
- The application should take around eight weeks to determine, during which time people will be given the chance to comment on your proposals.
- If you go ahead without permission then the local authority could force you to remove (at your cost) the arena, although it may be possible to obtain a retrospective planning permission. Though this can be a high-risk strategy.
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