DC Casebook: Agricultural Development - Arena lights ruled contrary to belt policy

The owners of an outdoor riding arena in the Kent green belt have been refused permission for six telegraph poles to support floodlights following a ruling that they involve an inappropriate and inessential form of development.

The appellants explained that the arena was used to train horses for dressage, break young animals and allow livery use. They stated that the floodlights would allow the arena to be used at dusk and in the early mornings and improve safety. The inspector decided that the poles involved a building operation and examined whether they were genuinely required for the land use.

While accepting that floodlighting would be of benefit to the use, he felt that it had not been demonstrated that this was indispensible for the success of the business. It therefore conflicted with green belt policy, he held. He was also concerned that strong artificial light visible from across a valley would undermine the area's landscape.

He gave significant weight to the appellants' estimate that lighting had been installed without permission at 27 nearby sites. They were entitled to a planning service that was consistent in its approach, he confirmed. However, he concluded that the need to support equine facilities in the countryside did not outweigh the conflict with green belt policies.

DCS Number 100-069-117

Inspector David Smith; Written representations

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