What we're trying to achieve

[3.25.01] We want to maintain the character and cultural landscape associated with the unique farming heritage of the Lake District and ensure that facilities related to keeping of animals on a non-commercial basis do not harm the character of the cultural landscape.

Policy 25: Development for the keeping of animals on a non-commercial basis

We want to maintain the character and cultural landscape associated with the unique farming heritage of the Lake District.

Development of facilities related to the keeping of animals which are kept on a non-commercial basis will only be supported where:

  • it reuses an existing building; or
  • it is well related to existing buildings and structures and they satisfactorily relate to existing vehicular access and bridleways.

Where this is not practical or appropriate, exceptionally, we will only permit buildings in open countryside locations where they are demonstrably necessary for and designed for welfare reasons.

All developments must be well integrated with their surroundings taking advantage of the natural landform and any existing natural screening.

Where planning permission is granted for the change of use of land for the keeping of horses and ponies relevant conditions will be imposed in order to retain the natural character of the field.

Implementation guidance

[3.25.04] Facilities may include field shelters, stables, schooling areas and outdoor exercise arenas. Development should reinforce the importance of local character by having regard to scale, height, density, layout, appearance and materials (Policy 06). In the first instance we will seek to support development that reuses an existing building.

[3.25.05] The natural character of the field is considered to be the state of the land prior to development. In most cases this will be an agricultural field used for grazing livestock without development and infrastructure associated with development such as hardstandings or associated equipment.

Current situation

[3.25.02] Horses have been kept in the Lake District for centuries for both working and recreation use. There are semi-feral herds of Fell Ponies that are associated particularly with farms and they form an important part of the cultural heritage of the Lake District. The majority of horses are now kept for recreational purposes, and the use of land for keeping horses is a relatively common feature in the Lake District particularly on the edge of settlements where individual or a small number of horses are kept in a field. There are limited economic benefits associated with such small-scale equestrian activities of this type. It is also becoming increasingly common to see other livestock being kept on a non-commercial basis, such as llamas and alpacas. Similarly there are limited economic benefits, yet potential for negative impacts resulting from buildings and structures required. There are very few commercial establishments such as liveries, commercial/ racing stables, or equestrian centres, however, these do contribute to the rural economy and help to sustain it.

[3.25.03] New facilities can have a negative impact on the rural nature of the Lake District by adversely affecting its landscape character and natural beauty by virtue of their appearance, scale, materials or design. Individually such developments may seem inconsequential, but cumulatively over time they can significantly alter the character of an area and the nature and structure of farming as smaller parcels of more productive land are bought for non-commercial agricultural use.