Are stables exempt from planning permission?

Schedule 2, Part 3 of The Planning Regulations, 2001 – 2006, deals with development which is exempt from planning in rural areas.  Class 6 is relevant in relation to stables:

 Works consisting of the provision of a roofed structure for the housing of cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys, horses, deer or rabbits, having a gross floor space not exceeding 200 square metres (whether or not by extension of an existing structure), and any ancillary provision for effluent storage.

As such in rural areas, stables (being a roofed structure for housing horses) are exempt from planning permission, so long as they do not exceed 200 square metres in size.

 There are however a number of Limitations and Conditions which relate to this exemption:

1.       No such structure shall be used for any purpose other than the purpose of agriculture.

2.       The gross floor space of the structure, together with any other structures situated within the same farmyard complex, or within 100 metres of that complex, shall not exceed 300 square metres gross floor space in aggregate.

3.       Effluent storage facilities adequate to serve the structure having regard to its size, use and location shall be constructed in line with Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development and Department of the Environment and Local Government requirements and shall have regard to the need to avoid water pollution.

4.       No such structure shall be situated, and no effluent from such structure shall be stored, within 10 metres of any public road.

5.       No such structure within 100 metres of any public road shall exceed 8 metres in height.

6.       No such structure shall be situated, and no effluent from such structure shall be stored, within 100 metres of any house (other than the house of the person providing the structure) or other residential building or school, hospital, church or building used for public assembly, save with the consent in writing of the owner and, as may be appropriate, the occupier or person in charge thereof.

7.       No unpainted metal sheeting shall be used for roofing or on the external finish of the structure.

 It is critical to understand that the conditions and limitations are not the extent of the restrictions which apply when considering if a development is exempt or not. Article 9 (1) specifies circumstances under which development, which is normally exempt, is not exempt.  This is the section of the legislation that most people are not aware of and fall down on. The following are amongst the more common reasons why a development that appears exempt is deemed not exempt under the legislation.

 If the carrying out development would:

  •  contravene a condition attached to a previous permission
  •  consist of or comprise the formation, laying out or material widening of a means of access to a public road the surfaced carriageway of which exceeds 4 metres in width
  •  endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard or obstruction of road users
  •  interfere with the character of a landscape or a view of prospect of special amenity

 In summary it is vital when considering if something is exempt from planning to undertake a full, detailed assessment. It normally takes an An Bord Pleanala Inspector 15 – 20 pages of a report before they can arrive at a conclusion as to whether something is exempt or not. 

 There is provision whereby anybody can seek a declaration from the Council as to whether a development is exempt or not.  The cost of this process is only €80.00 however I would strongly advise that you engage professional expertise when making your case to the Council. The Council will have regard to any arguments which are made by the person seeking the declaration when assessing whether the development is exempt or not.  Given the complexities involved and the legal nature in determining if a development is exempt or not it is in your interest to engage an expert to represent you.

 The Council’s decision on a declaration can be appealed to An Bord Pleanala under what is termed a referral.


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