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Planning application approved for new shepherdfs hut and stabling as part of the new Forest Edge retreat in Thetford, Norfolk. En-Plan: Planning Consultantys for Norfolk.


Planning Application approved for new stabling and shepherds hut that will form the basis of the Forest Edge Retreat in Mundford, Thetford, Norfolk.



Forest Edge Retreat is located on the periphery of the town of Thetford in Norfolk.  It is located in the district of Breckland and as such En-Plan applied to Breckland District Council for Planning Approval for stabling and a new shepherds hut that will allow the business to offer on site accommodation for the both guests and the horses that form the pony trekking  horesey-holidays offered by the retreat in the beautiful Thetford Forest.

Thetford Forest

Thetford Forest is a large forest located in the county of Norfolk in eastern England.bThetford Forest is situated in the Breckland area of Norfolk, near the town of Thetford. It covers an extensive area of approximately 47,000 acres (19,020 hectares. T he forest consists of a mix of coniferous and deciduous trees, with pine trees being predominant. It features diverse habitats, including woodland, heathland, wetland, and open spaces. The landscape is characterized by rolling hills, extensive forested areas, and several recreational trails. Thetford Forest is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and offers a wide range of recreational activities. These include walking trails, cycling routes, horse riding paths, and designated picnic areas. The forest also has several recreation centers and facilities for activities such as archery, wildlife spotting, and mountain biking. The forest is home to a variety of wildlife species, including deer, rabbits, squirrels, and numerous bird species. Nature lovers can explore the forest to observe and appreciate the flora and fauna. Thetford Forest is also known for its rare Breckland plants, which are adapted to the unique dry and sandy soils of the region. High Lodge is a visitor center located within Thetford Forest. It serves as a hub for visitors and provides facilities such as a café, picnic areas, an adventure playground, and a Go Ape treetop adventure course. Thetford Forest is managed by the Forestry Commission, a government agency responsible for the sustainable management of forests in England. The commission oversees the conservation and development of the forest, balancing recreational use with conservation objectives. Thetford Forest offers a tranquil and picturesque environment for outdoor activities, nature exploration, and relaxation. It attracts visitors from nearby towns and cities as well as tourists interested in experiencing the natural beauty of the region.

The Business Proposal

The business will offer opportunities for individuals or groups to engage with horses, whether through riding, caring for horses, or participating in equestrian activities, which will incliude the following:

  1. Horseback Riding: Horseback riding is often the central activity of horsey holidays. Participants may have the chance to explore scenic trails, countryside, or beaches on horseback, guided by experienced instructors or guides.

  2. Riding Lessons: Horsey holidays may also include riding lessons tailored to different skill levels, from beginners to experienced riders. Professional instructors provide guidance and teach riding techniques, helping participants improve their equestrian skills.

  3. Horse Care and Stable Management: Some horsey holidays focus on providing participants with a hands-on experience in horse care and stable management. This may involve activities such as grooming, feeding, tacking up horses, and learning about their daily care routines.

  4. Equestrian Workshops and Clinics: Horsey holidays can offer specialized workshops or clinics focused on specific equestrian disciplines, such as dressage, show jumping, or natural horsemanship. Participants may receive instruction from expert trainers or attend demonstrations and seminars to enhance their knowledge and skills.

  5. Trail Riding and Trekking: Many horsey holidays include guided trail rides or trekking expeditions, allowing participants to explore scenic routes, forests, mountains, or coastal areas on horseback. These experiences often provide a blend of adventure and connection with nature.

  6. Horse Shows and Competitions: Depending on the holiday package and timing, participants may have the opportunity to attend or even compete in horse shows or equestrian competitions. These events showcase various disciplines and offer an exciting glimpse into the world of competitive horse riding.

  7. Cultural and Recreational Activities: Horsey holidays can combine horse-related activities with cultural experiences or other recreational pursuits. This may include visits to equestrian heritage sites, horse breed farms, local festivals, or the chance to enjoy amenities like spa facilities or countryside relaxation.


Horsey holidays cater to a range of interests and skill levels, from beginners seeking introductory experiences to experienced riders looking for specialized training or challenging rides. The specific offerings, duration, and locations of horsey holidays can vary, so it's best to research and consult with tour operators or equestrian centers that specialize in organizing such holidays to find options that align with your preferences.

The Planning Application Process


En-Plan have worked in conjunction with the Breckland District Council's Planning Department to address concerns raised the Council's Ecologist in the planning process as the application  site is located on the edge of the Thetford Forest Special Protection Area.  This was done by providing a preliminary Ecological Appraisal which showed the development would have no detrimental impacts on the environment and with this knowledge the Council were able to approve the application.

En-Plan also produced a technical drainage strategy for the development that also helped the Council's own drainage engineers come to a positive recommendation.  En-Plan have extensive knowledge of providing viable storm and foul water drainage strategies that reflect our work in the Building Regulations area where we provide technical build detail for a variety of projects from domestic to commercial.

The dwelling is separated from other dwellings, as are the proposals and therefore there is unlikely to be
significant amenity impact, taking this into consideration, the use for the stables and the small scale nature of
the proposals. The proposal has been considered by the County Ecologist and Natural England. They have raised noobjections to the proposal subject to conditions ensuring the development does not harm the biodiversityvalue of this location and that suitable mitigation/enhancement measures are provided on site. It is overallconsidered on this basis that the proposal has appropriate regard to Policy ENV02 of the Breckland LocalPlan (Adopted 2019) in terms of the biodiversity impact of the development. Environmental health raised no objections to the proposals also. The proposals are therefore considered to accord with Policy COM03 of the Breckland Local Plan (adopted 2019).

The highways authority raises no objections to the proposals, subject to conditions, which would be applied
to any subsequent approval. On this basis the proposals are considered to accord with Policies TR01 and
TR02 of the Breckland Local Plan (adopted 2019). In terms of the overall planning balance of the scheme, the proposal is considered to be acceptable inplanning terms and is accordingly recommended for approval, subject to conditions.

Further Information

If you would like to find out more about how our Planning Consultancy and Architectural Design Services can work in perfect sync to achieve a successful outcome in the planning system and how we can help you with your Listed Building Project please CONTACT US and we will be only too happy to talk through any questions or development proposals you may have.


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