Planning fences to clear for livery businesses
Horse riding has become one of the most popular hobbies in the UK.
This has led to an increase in demand for livery services. Typically, horses kept at livery tend to be for leisure and can be called a ‘recreational horse’. The importance of this classification is for planning reasons.
Farms will usually have land classified as agricultural. However, planning permission for change of use could be needed in order to prevent a breach of planning regulations if you are setting up and wanting to keep recreational horses. The land would need to be changed from agricultural to a mixed-use classification of agricultural and recreational, or even purely recreational.
There is often a misconception that horses are livestock. A case named Hemens v Whitsbury Farm and Stud Ltd (1988), provided some much-needed clarity on this by confirming that horses or ponies, other than those used for farming the land or reared for food, are not livestock, furthermore any building used to house them does not fall within the definition of agricultural use.
No matter what type of livery arrangement you decide to offer, it is crucial to draw up a livery agreement before any horse owner takes occupancy at your yard. Typical heads of terms for a livery agreement are:
• Parties – details of the horse owner and yard owner
• Charges – costs of the livery and any additional services
• Insurance – liability of the horse should remain with the owner and the yard owner should exclude liability for injury to the horse and loss of tack/equipment
• Tack and horse owner’s belongings
• Horse passport – this should either be kept at the yard or an up to date copy should be provided to the yard owner
• Specific horse information and care
• Policies – For example the yard’s policy on dogs or children
• Duties owed by the livery yard owner
• Duties owed by the horse owner
• Welfare decisions – Does the yard owner have the right to make the decision to put the horse to sleep on veterinary advice if the owner cannot be contacted?
• Lien – a very important clause for yard owners, reserving the right to retain the horse, its tack and equipment until payment of any outstanding livery fees are received.
Adriana Vaux, legal advisor at Agri Advisor.