Do I need Planning permission for a mobile field shelter?

Mobile field shelters and Planning Permission

Planning permission can be a lengthy and expensive process thus a whole sector of the equestrian building industry has devoted itself to supplying  shelters that do not require planning consent - mobile field shelters.

Please note on August 18th 2011 Andrew Redman was fined £1,230 after Carmarthenshire County Council took him to court for erecting buildings without planning consent. This is the first conviction of it's kind so where does one stand with regard to planning and mobile field shelters?

Mr Redman believed he was within the law as his two mobile field shelters were on skids with hooks (for towing) on either side so technically his shelters were moveable and therefore mobile. But the planning enforcement officer for Carmarthenshire County Council deemed the shelters to be permanent and that planning permission was required. Why?

Because Mr Redman had placed the mobile field shelters on hard standing, in this case washed river stone, which the council stated had changed the use of land without planning consent. They also pointed out that the field shelters had never been moved.

"If it sits in the same position for several months it forms a degree of permanence. We expect them to be moved at least five or six times a year."

 "Just because it has skids does not make it mobile"

So do mobile field shelters require planning permission or not? Not if they are used correctly!

Let's take a look at the appeal case that has so far set the precedent with regards to mobile field shelters:

Appeal A: APP/B1225/C/01/1057144

In 2001 Purbeck District Council issued an enforcement notice against Mr Bennet's mobile field shelter in Dorset. Mr Bennet was acused of  "change of use of the land from grazing to a mixed use comprising the keeping of horses and the siting of a horse shelter" and he was asked "to cease using the land for storing a horse shelter and completley remove the shelter from the land".

Mr Bennet hadn't had any ground work done in association with the field shelter and he believed that the shelter could easily be moved from place to place so he appealed the enforcement order.

The appeal was decided by an independant inspector appointed by The Secretary of State who agreed that :

"No preparation of the ground was required prior to the erection of the field shelter"

"There is no physical attachment to the ground"

"There are no services connected"

"It is not permanently sited"

"It is designed to be moved"

Because the inspector decided that the erection of the field shelter did not "amount to operational development as defined in section 55(1) of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act" the enforcement was quashed.

Also with regard to the Council's claim that the land had been changed from grazing to mixed use the inspector found no evidence of the land being used for "a hobby purpose" and confirmed that the grazing of horses "falls within the definition of agriculture in section 336 (1) of the 1990, and that by virtue of Section 22(2)(e) of the Act, planning permission was not required."

To sum up the current situation with regard to planning consent and mobile field shelters a mobile field shelter would not require planning consent provided it complied with the following:

There was no groundwork for the shelter.

The shelter was not perminently attached to the ground in anyway.

There were no services connected eg.electricity, water.

It was designed to be moved and it was moved on a regular basis.

The land was used for "agriculture" ie. grazing not riding.