Casebook: Appeal Cases - Agricultural Development - Stables rejected despite grazing land sufficiency

Plans for four stables at a farm in the Merseyside green belt have been turned down as inappropriate development although the inspector agreed that the holding had sufficient grazing land to feed the horses.

The appeal site already contained a row of four stables. The inspector accepted that PPG2 cites "small" stables as an example of essential facilities for outdoor sport and recreation that may be regarded as not inappropriate in the green belt. In his view, creating a run of eight stables some 30m long with a store building alongside could not by any measure be described as "small" for the purposes of applying green belt policy. He held that the proposal went beyond what PPG2 intended and amounted to inappropriate development in the green belt.

He noted that a local planning policy required at least 0.4ha of grazing land to be available for each horse. At the time of the planning application, 16 horses were kept on 4.25 hectares, substantially below the amount of land required by the policy. However, the number of horses had since been reduced to eight. He reasoned that if the total went back to 16 the former grazing ratio would be retained and that if only ten or eight were kept there would be sufficient land.

Either way, he did not regard the grazing ratio as sufficient reason to oppose the development. Having regard to the types and requirements of horses to be stabled, he found no reason to disagree with the view of the appellant's vet that they required stable accommodation. But he did not regard these factors as very special circumstances outweighing the harm arising from inappropriate development.

DCS No: 100039127; Inspector: Jonathan King; Written representations.


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