If you own a mobile field shelter, or are thinking of buying one, you need to make sure you are meeting the requirements of your local planning department.
One of the main advantages of investing in a mobile field shelter over a static one is that, under most circumstances, you do not need to apply for planning permission. However, on a regular basis you do need to move your shelter to a new place in the field/paddock to prove that it is in fact mobile and not deemed a permanent structure.
In 2011, in a well publicised case, a horse owner from Wales was fined over £1000 for failing to move his mobile shelter frequently enough. The case was thought to be the first conviction of its kind and shone a light on a ambiguous ruling that had many people confused and unsure of their responsibilities.
The person fined had put up two field shelters – both featuring skids and with hooks on either side. They resided on a base of washed riverstone and no concrete foundations had been laid. He believed that due to these features, his structures were exempt from planning permission and he was within the law. However, the local planning agency sent him a letter stating planning permission was in fact needed due to ‘the creation of a hard standing’. The owner challenged the case and was told to move the shelters. However, he did not and a fine of £1230 was told to move the mobile field shelters within 28 days.
Since this well publicised case, there have been more related incidents, and it has shone a light on this contentious issue. Official planning rules state that a mobile field shelter needs to be moved every six weeks to fall under regulation. However, these strict guidelines are difficult to enforce due to the limited resources and monitoring abilities of the planning authorities.
To be on the safe side, and avoid any potential penalties, it is advisable to move your mobile field shelters once every month and a half/two months. You can do this by dragging it to another area of your field with a 4×4 or tractor and laying it on moveable hard standing material – highlighted in the following article. Moving your shelter regularly like this can also be useful for the healthy upkeep of your field, so there is a positive aspect to be had from this potentially annoying requirement.
Details on the case mentioned above can be found here – http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/councils-target-field-shelters-in-new-planning-crackdown/
For more information on your exact obligations, you can contact your local planning authority through the following website – http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/