My feed

to access all these features

Discuss horse riding and ownership on our Horse forum.

The tack room

Advice about a menage

18 replies

AmIAWeed · 07/07/2020 12:54

Hi All
I should start this by saying, im not a horsey person. Terrified of them! My neighbours however have lots, and just put in planning to build a menage at the bottom of my garden. Literally.

So, I have a few concerns but im very keen to ensure any issue I raise is genuine and not just 'I don't want it'
so I figured, maybe the best people to ask are those with horses themselves who can give me an honest sense of perspective.

Issue one, lighting - I really dont want floodlit at the bottom of the garden but I think they'd struggle to get that behind residential properties anyway.
Issue two, personal or commercial - no reference of this but due to the closeness to residential properties I do not want this to be in constant use so would want to ensure its clarified.
Things I don't know if they are issues but concerning me:
we live in a bungalow, their horses already are head height with our hedge, we've grown it 2 foot taller since they moved in, but the horses heads are level with the top. Stick a person on top and all privacy is gone with direct view into bedrooms. Obviously build up the menage height as well as they aren't digging down and we loose more privacy. We have a wide but short garden so clearly visible.
Is it unreasonable to ask for this to be dug down??

Potential next issue - dust
Is there a 'best' surface that we can request/insist on due to the levels of dust created from horses running, jumping etc

Is there anything we haven't thought of that comes with a menage that we should be raising/asking about?

I don't want to be that person that says no, but, I also want to be very keen to ensure whatever is there does not impact on our use of our house or garden.
I should also add - we cant talk to them, they hate us!
Any advice would be gratefully received

OP posts:
maxelly · 07/07/2020 14:21

Horse owner here (albeit one whose horses have always been on livery yards so not had experience myself of building a menage), I don't know much about the finer details of planning permission but will try and do my best with your questions!

Lighting, I am guessing they will ask for lights, the number 1 reason I (and many others) use a school/menage is to ride in the evenings in winter (in summer and at weekends I mainly like to hack out, or can ride in the fields when the ground is dry) so lights are pretty much a most for me, I think if I was your neighbour I wouldn't bother building a school at all if I wasn't allowed lights. I am guessing there are planning regulations around floodlights you can look up to see how likely it is to be allowed? My livery yard does have a large floodlit school, there are houses very nearby so it must be theoretically possible but then again this would have been constructed 10 or more years ago so not sure if things have changed since then, and I am guessing the rules are different for a large commercial enterprise to someone's private/residential land. You can ask that they have the 'capped' lights if allowed at all, to minimise light pollution?

Personal or commercial, are you asking whether they might be planning on running a livery yard/riding school as opposed to using the school for purely personal use? I am guessing the former is unlikely unless they have a really large parcel of land and lots of stables (horses really need at least 1 acre of land each), and it would require a change of use permission for the land if it's currently residential. But I guess it is possible they may have or get sharers/loaners for their horses to help exercise them so there may be others using the arena aside from residents, I think this is allowed without it becoming a commercial concern. But even so, assuming they have 2 or 3 horses, each is unlikely to be ridden for more than an hour or so a day so not constant use? What they might do if it's a particularly swanky new arena is try and hire it out to others to bring their horses to, to make a quick £, but again I am sure there are rules against doing this without incurring business rates, insurances etc so I doubt it personally and I expect that is something you would be able to challenge with the council if it came up.

The height/digging down issue, I don't think I've ever seen/heard of a 'sunken' arena. Drainage/flooding is always an issue with arenas so I can't see them wanting to go down below the water line, plus it would be very dark especially if no lights are allowed, so I don't think this is particularly feasible, sorry. Maybe look into growing some leylandi or similar to give privacy?

On a positive note, pretty much all modern surfaces for arenas are minimally dusty. Dust is very bad for horses lungs and is unpleasant to ride in, so the owners will already be keen to pick a non dusty surface, the best kind are made of rubber/silicon mixes, sometimes with a wax treatment, but even ones which are more 'sandy' are highly unlikely to create an issue with dust in your garden. In the older school at my yard (which as I say has a surface at least 10 years old) it can get a little dusty on a dry breezy day when you are in there and you can end up with muck on your horses legs/your boots but there isn't a speck of it on the yard itself never mind in neighbouring fields/gardens so I wouldn't worry too much there.

Happy to answer any more questions?

paap1975 · 07/07/2020 14:26

Just for the record it's "manège". A "ménage" is a household

Floralnomad · 07/07/2020 14:37

Re the lighting aspect you could always ask that there is a lights out at a certain time rule in the planning so 8pm for example . As regards your privacy I doubt someone riding their horse in the arena will be taking any notice of what is going on over the hedge . I agree with the pp that most modern surfaces are not particularly dusty so I doubt you’d have an issue particularly as you have a hedge . I would be concerned about it being used commercially but that’s something else that could be vetoed at the planning stage . Do your neighbours just have their own horses or is it already being used as a livery yard?

AmIAWeed · 07/07/2020 15:41

Thanks for your replies so far.
The dust element is reassuring, so perhaps my focus can be on ensuring what they put down is the modern/rubber stuff.

The land is grazing not equestrian. Although they do have a stack of bales, I believe if we go to the letter of 'grazing' isn't allowed because you are bringing food in. So there is a definite change of use with the plans.
I don't want to be too outing, but there are 4 horses currently, less than 6 acres of grazing land (used for silage for years so is now all mud) and been horribly unsuitable for the last 2 years but they have just bought a second field which i'd estimate is about 30 acres.
They have also requested a barn built with stables - that i'm not keen on, but at the same time I cant see actual building impacting me but it does suggest they are going to make the site a livery yard. Which is why I would like it to be clear if building is allowed this is for personal use of the residents only.

There is so much emphasis about how this is away from their home with no reference to the fact its less than 15 metres from my back door!
@Floralnomad I appreciate a normal person riding a horse will likely be more interested in looking at their next jump and where they are going, but sadly we've had a few strange issues with the chap so erected a 2 metre fence between the houses to give us privacy (which is why they hate us) Our deeds state we must have a stock proof hedge between us and the field, so our Hawthorn hedge is beautiful in the summer, not so much in the winter. He gives me the creeps which is why this is a particular concern to me but I appreciate means nothing in the real world and in the sense of this application, even if they were lovely the next person along might not be which is why the privacy and their view into 2 bedrooms concerns me.

Sorry - that's long, so to summarise:
surface, likely rubber but we can ask for that to be confirmed,
Lights I still don't like but could suggest hoods and a light off clause.
It isn't just me who thinks a livery yard could bring its own problems so to question this isn't necessarily me being difficult.

Anything else I need to consider or be aware of?

OP posts:
maxelly · 07/07/2020 15:58

Just to get your terminology right, a livery yard inherently means a yard in which stables are rented out to paying customers for their use (care of the horse may or may not be included in the livery fee). Putting up a barn/block of stables does not necessarily mean they are starting a livery yard as any horse owner likes to have stables to keep their own horses in, and/or if they wanted to rent the land/yard out wholesale to a tenant, having stable buildings on it would significantly increase the value/rent they could charge. As you say this is quite a different thing to starting a business where there would be lots of different clients coming and going at different times, increase in traffic, noise, disturbance etc to your property. So you need to be clear if this is what you are concerned about rather than them simply being able to use their land for their own purposes/riding their own horses (but to be clear I don't think them simply asking to put stables up necessarily means they do want to start a business).

I can understand your privacy concerns totally, I'm a rider/horse lover myself and not sure I would want someone having their main riding area right next door to my garden, although does it make too much difference if the creepy man is riding in the field next to your hedge, or in an arena? I guess if technically the land is meant to be grazing only, you should be objecting to the change of usage which allows them to use it for recreational and riding purposes at all, rather than the construction of the arena per se? Is it worth taking some proper expert advice on this to make your objections as watertight as possible and couched in the right language?

Floralnomad · 07/07/2020 16:13

I wonder if a compromise would be a line of suitable trees on his side between the arena and your hedge which would be screening , however I suppose that might adversely affect the light in your garden / home .

AmIAWeed · 07/07/2020 16:25

thanks for the tips on terminology @maxelly so I need to be clear on the impact the disturbance of a livery yard OR renting out the menage would have instead of bundling them together as the same thing.

Weirdly they never ever ride the horses, I've seen her once on a horse in the garden for a photo. Admittedly I don't sit and watch them 24/7 but we have lots of riders in the village and you just kind of get to know whose about, like dog walkers, but bigger!
So they don't currently use the field to ride in, so creepy man hasn't bothered us, but i'm guessing if you build a menage you would use it and not just look at it. Creepy man does love to drive his tractor up and down, his quad up and down and rev up his chain saw.
Still, I need to keep this very factual and not a reflection of my opinion of them.

Id actually be OK with the line of trees, great for wildlife and who wouldn't want to look at trees. The garden is East facing so with the direction of the sun the trees wouldn't actually affect us and would prevent them placing their muck heap at the bottom of my garden when they don't like my objection letter!!

OP posts:
Floralnomad · 07/07/2020 16:51

It does sound like he’s planning on using the place for a business an arena is quite an expensive thing for people who don’t ride much but would be a must have for most people looking for a livery yard .

AmIAWeed · 07/07/2020 17:05

Its hard to know isn't it?
On one hand, they have more money than sense and I truly believe the horses are a status symbol, why have 4 huge horses if you don't ride? When they very first moved in, he took great delight telling me how he had 13 horses on all his land when he lived with his ex wife, competes regularly etc.
Nothing they say adds up.
they've left the horses to eat the neighbours leylandi, there's a huge and beautiful sycamore tree with a TPO on right next to where the menage is proposed to go which will cause all sorts of issues plus he has no idea on land management... I don't know, it'll either be a giant status symbol never used or I suspect loaned out as a 'fun' side business.
Maybe I should start planting the trees on my side?!

OP posts:
ItsJustASimpleLine · 07/07/2020 17:23

Your points are good planning points, the overlooking/privacy issue should be raised. As a planning officer I would be asking for it to be set back from the boundary and for them to provide planting. In your letter to the council raise the 'change in the level of activity' on the land too. What was once I'm assuming a field is changing use to a much more intensive activity.

Floodlighting isn't always approved/required depending on their intended hours of use. Ask for these and raise concerns about the potential light spill this is a potential 'nuisance' itself.

If its a business there will be extra noise and activity relating to people coming and go in cars and horse boxes.

You need to ask if the horses are in a livery where will the manure be stored the application should have A waste management plan with it.

AmIAWeed · 07/07/2020 19:33

Thank you @ItsJustASimpleLine
Our garden is just 10 metres deep at the shortest. They have put on the plan the ménage will be 400 in, I'm assuming that's cm, so 4 metres set in.
Would that be considered set in enough considering the depth of our garden and proximity to our windows - I should say that's a kitchen window. It's 14 metres from a bedroom window so the boundary. Not sure if there is a difference between a living space and a bedroom in the eyes of planning/privacy.
I'm really keen for any objections/considerations to be reasonable as whilst I'd prefer this simply not to be built if it is, then I need to be able ensure my requests for considerations are, they dislike me enough as it is!!!

OP posts:
ItsJustASimpleLine · 07/07/2020 20:25

The separation distance depends on a lot of factors as its not a prescribed amount in regulations or guidance. Its usually something a case officer would look at and consider on the site visit.

I would recommend you make a brief list of your concerns and call the case officer. They'll be able to advise you on what would be appropriate to include and you can discuss the separation distance with them. In your case I would be making sure they know about the bedrooms as well.

I would ask for the distances to be measured while you're on the phone as the case officer can scale from the plan. We get a mix of plans in mm cm and m so its always worth checking.

You can also search on their public access page for other similar applications using 'manege' in the keyword search and read the reports to see how officers determine these applications.

Moanranger · 07/07/2020 22:08

Horse rider & also involved in planning professionally. First, overlooking is a legitimate issue, so I would object unless it is set back from your boundary a sufficient distance, such that someone on a horse could not actually see into your garden.
If it is a private manege then it will not be used a lot, so I doubt there would be much noise & dust. Floodlighting is unlikely to be allowed but ground level lighting is quite effective & wont cause light spillage.
In reality equestrian improvements that require planning are really hard to get approved, and it may we’ll be that your local plan has very specific policies & criteria on what is acceptable.

AmIAWeed · 08/07/2020 08:42

Thank you both - It's reassuring to know that my concerns are genuine.
I have done a search of 'menage' and whilst I can't find a single example of one being turned down in the last 5 years, I cannot see any that are close to residential properties. All are set well within the boundaries of the land and surrounded by farm land.

I'll call the planning team and ask them to confirm the measurements of the distance from our boundary. Plus, I did think (if it ever stops raining) I could maybe place my step ladders 4 metres away from the boundary. Get the height of a horse and rider and see realistically how much I can see into their field, to see how much they can see into mine. I appreciate that's a very different view with a green hedge, and come winter its totally different but it may make me feel a little better if it's not 'as bad' as im imagining

OP posts:
fodderbeet · 09/07/2020 21:25

I would say that your biggest problem is potentially the noise. The dust shouldn't be an issue, and people riding tend to be watching where they are going and won't be looking into your bedroom/garden. Arenas/schools/manege (all pretty much the same thing, just different terminology) all tend to be close to ground level, so depending on your soil/drainage it will probably be dug out and then refilled to roughly the same level as it is now.

So back to the noise, some instructors have incredibly loud shrill voices, and if it ends up being more commercial than private, you could have constant instructions bellowed at you over the hedge for hours each day.

Where is the barn and stables to be sited? If they've bought 30 acres, surely a better central site could be found. Try to forget about all of the personal stuff - some people keep retired horses for years, and try to think of a new name for creepy man. Do you have any other neighbours that this will impact? Even if they're a little further away? Have you seen the plans for the stables, is there a parking area? Kitchen? Multiple tackrooms? Anything that may suggest commercial use even if planning is for personal?

We have horses and visit many horsey places in different locations, but there's no way that I would want to live next to one. Good luck.

AmIAWeed · 13/07/2020 11:59

Hi All - once again thank you for the thoughts and comments.
I have approached a solicitor to ensure that our objection is strong and reasonable and also requested the case officer attends to measure the difference in heights between garden and field and can assess the impact on loss of privacy. They are attending tomorrow (the other property) and unaccompanied due to Covid, so I have said she is welcome to come to our property and as it's unaccompanied pointed out the bedroom situation, deciduous hedge and asked her to measure the difference in field height and garden height.

I am, alongside this, working out how I can screen the garden more if they get their application accepted - this is our long term home and I imagine they would only retaliate more when they know we are objecting - this weekend we had friends round so he rode his tractor up and down, left the engine running for 20 minutes when he wasn't even in it, then rode his quad bike before getting back into the tractor for half an hour and that's before we've formally objected! They are turning into nightmare neighbours so I need to make sure I am above reproach in any responses.

OP posts:
Honeyroar · 18/07/2020 13:34

I hope my comments are not too late, but I’d not be happy with an arena right at the end of a small garden, and I’m horsey. Arenas are often used for lessons, so you’re likely to have a fair bit of noise from the arena with loud voices. I also think it’s quite dangerous for riders as horses could spook if you started a drill or a lawnmower etc. I think it’s very selfish to put it so close to you. If they’ve got 30 acres they could site it further away, surely.

AmIAWeed · 20/07/2020 16:48

Hi @Honeyroar - No, not too late and I appreciate the reply.
I am still waiting on the solicitor to draft a reply so I can cover all the points clearly. I've spent (too much time) reading other peoples complaints on the planning portal and it's surprising how many are full of emotion and sadly points that aren't considered by planning so I feel genuine issues get lost.

Ironically this weekend I spent the time clearing their apple tree that has split and partially fallen into my garden (they know this, I informed them Saturday) they assured me they would deal with it Sunday, except they spent 3 hours ploughing half their grazing field...The 30 acres they have hasn't been fenced yet so goodness knows where the horses will end up.

They have updated the plans to say there wont be much muck as the horses will barely be in the stables except on the harshest of winter nights and no raised flood lighting. Apparently the stable is for 10 plus years when they want sheep....WTF?!
Either they are incredibly stupid, which I doubt, or they are hoping those around them are stupid enough to just let them do what they want.

OP posts:
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.