Expert Reports


If you have already submitted a planning application for stables, arena or temporary/permanent dwelling and the planning authority have told you that there is
insufficient justification, or that it does not comply with policy, then contact us to provide an expert opinion report. 

We regularly supply expert reports to support clients’ applications.  These can set out why facilities are necessary for the efficient management of the enterprise or equine welfare; argue your case that the proposed development fully complies with planning policy; provide a full financial analysis of your accounts to show that the
business is viable.


We are happy to take instructions from agents or their clients.


New Businesses and Temporary Dwellings


2018 was an extremely busy year with a record number of planning permissions for temporary and permanent dwellings and Certificates of Lawfulness.  

We have had 100% success rate of temporary dwellings to support brand new businesses.  It isn’t always necessary to wait until the business is up and running. 
However, it is crucial that expert advice is taken to ensure that the business model complies with the relevant planning policy tests.


Log Cabins


We have had several clients decide that they would rather continue to live in their log cabins than submit an application for a traditional permanent dwelling,
built of brick, after three years.  In these cases we submit a Variation of Condition to enable the log cabin to be retained permanently.  This can be a good route to
take because the business won’t need to show sufficient profit after three years to fund the cost of a house build.  However, in every other respect the application is
the same and it is not any easier to retain a log cabin than it is to build a house.


Permanent Dwellings After Three Years


It is important to remember that planning permissions for temporary dwellings expire precisely three years from the date of the permission, regardless of
when they are built and occupied.


Whilst these temporary permissions indicate that a permanent dwelling will be permitted at the site, subject to the functional and financial tests being met, it is essential
that the application is properly prepared as a refusal will result in the temporary dwelling being removed.


The level of profitability required for a permanent dwelling is much higher and the application will be examined in much more detail. If the level of profit
is insufficient it is very unlikely that a successful appeal could be made.  Make sure that you have expert advice in relation to the accounts to ensure that your net profit
covers everything necessary - once the figures have been submitted it is too late.  Our expert understanding of equine business means that we have never had an
application fail the financial test.


Permanent Dwellings


If your business has been running for some time it could be possible to obtain planning permission for a permanent dwelling without first having to live in a
mobile home for three years.


Last year we were able to achieve this for three clients.  In two of these cases, the clients came to Equine Commercial-Legal having had a previous
application refused, one also dismissed at appeal. 


The successful re-submission of these applications demonstrates the importance of a thorough understanding of the way in which equine businesses are run and
financial analysis in the context of the relevant planning policy.  Sally-Ann is acknowledged by leading planning consultancies as an expert in equine business. 
If you have had a planning application for a dwelling refused on the grounds that your business is not viable we may be able to help you.


Small Sites

In the last year we have repeatedly achieved success for temporary and permanent dwellings on sites as small as three and a half acres.   These have included brand new enterprises with little or no existing infrastructure.


We were able to assist clients by creating viable business models to fulfill the financial test and preparing business plans and forecasts to show that a very small
enterprise can be sufficiently viable to comply with rural enterprise dwelling policy.


Previously Refused Applications

Prior to contacting us the client had decided to withdraw an application for a rural enterprise dwelling because it was going to be refused.  This was due to the
Council’s consultant concluding that there was no functional need to live on site and that the accounts showed that the business was not viable. This meant that
the client would have had to move off the site as soon as the temporary planning permission for the mobile home expired.


However, we were able to make the case for there being a need to live on site and decisively analyse the accounts to prove that the business was viable.  The application represented an unusual business model that relied on a very small number of horses, but our thorough understanding of the equine industry and an innovative approach to interpreting the planning policy led to a very quick approval once resubmitted.


It is crucial that these applications are prepared by a consultant specialising in equine business to provide a decisive financial analysis and prove that the business is viable. 
We have never had an application fail the financial test.



The first six months of the year have been extremely busy with an increase in planning applications across all types of development.  These have
ranged from temporary dwellings to support both new and existing enterprises to brand new yards as clients take advantage of ‘support in favour of
sustainable development’.

Whilst many of our clients run large competition yards with horses of considerable value, small enterprises with a low turnover are equally capable of fulfilling the
criteria necessary to obtain planning permission for a temporary dwelling.  Enterprises only need show that they are viable.

However, many of our clients are not running businesses at all, but want to create well-designed yards for their family’s horses and ponies.  Increasingly,
these applications require detailed justification for the amount and size of the development in terms of the specific use of the horses and their welfare needs.  

Our expertise has enabled us to provide this evidence to obtain successful outcomes for our clients, even where other rural consultancies have said there
was no possibility of obtaining permission.

Each year we are contacted by people who have had applications for temporary dwellings refused.  Unfortunately, all too frequently these relate to
retrospective applications where they are already living on site to look after their horses and are then subject to enforcement action to remove them. 
The refusal usually relates to a ‘lack of functional need’. However, we frequently find that there is a clear functional need and the application has failed simply
through a lack of detailed expert opinion.  We have been able to present the evidence at appeal enabling clients to remain on site.




Already includes permanent dwelling applications for an eventing yard, a competition/breeding yard, dressage/training yard and a new enterprise.

We are delighted that three of our existing clients have contacted us again this year.  We previously helped these clients to set up new businesses with a
temporary dwelling.  Three years later, we are now ready to submit a planning application for a permanent dwelling.

In such cases, the principle of a dwelling on site has been accepted and, provided that the business continues to operate in much the same way, there
should be no problem in demonstrating that the ‘functional test’ is fulfilled.

However, whilst new businesses have done extremely well to establish themselves in a very difficult economic period, unless they have made sufficient
level of profit by the third year they will not be able to fulfil the ‘financial test’.

The financial test is determined in accordance with a specific formula which takes account of investment in the enterprise, labour requirements and the cost
of the proposed dwelling.  In addition, the financial test will be considered in the context of the projections submitted with the temporary dwelling application.

For these reasons, it is essential that specialist professional help is obtained from someone who not only has a thorough understanding of the equine
industry but is also able to interpret accounts.



Since the publication of the NPPF, much confusion exists with regard to the financial test.  This stems from the fact that the NPPF does not refer to viability in relation
to paragraph 55 ‘… the essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside.’

However, most LPAs have their own local policies in line with Annex A of the PPS7 against which they appraise workers’ dwelling applications.  In these cases, the
financial test remains and LPAs request evidence of viability in the form of a business plan and projections.


Was another successful year for both Equine Commercial-Legal and our clients.  Projects have included:


Planning applications relating to temporary dwellings for new equestrian businesses. We have prepared appraisals setting out precisely why a dwelling is needed to enable the business to become established and have put together business plans and projections to demonstrate to the planning authority that the proposed business is planned on a sound financial basis.  New enterprises have ranged from show yards and studs to competition yards.


Permanent dwelling applications  for existing businesses with temporary dwellings on site for just three years, as  well as established yards without
accommodation, including eventing and dressage yards.


Preparing business plans to enable existing enterprises to secure bank loans for expansion.




We are also pleased to have been instructed by yet more planning authorities during 2013/14.

Since the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) the number of applications for equestrian workers’ dwellings has increased and our expertise
in the equine industry has been in greater demand as the planning authorities seek to ensure that dwellings really are essential and that businesses are viable.

We continue to work extensively for clients in Wales who need to show that their applications fulfil the five tests set out in Technical Advice Note 6 (TAN 6).
In particular, the financial test is demanding with a requirement for a thorough business plan and five year projections. With our understanding of equestrian
business models we have been able to demonstrate decisively that businesses are viable.