Specialist equine consultancy fails to justify on-site caravans

The owners of a specialist equine recovery and rehabilitation centre in Worcestershire were unable to get an enforcement notice quashed, an inspector ruling that there was no financial need for static caravans to be placed on the land.

The site extended to approximately two hectares and contained various buildings including a manège and sand pen. In support of the development the appellants stated that they provided a specialist equine therapy centre which included a round-the-clock service for horses suffering from laminitis and this was linked with a convalescent livery. The disease was caused by overfeeding the animals which resulted in inflammation and weakening of the laminal structures and bonds within the hoof, requiring highly specialised skills to treat the condition, they asserted. To this end veterinary professionals referred a number of animals to the centre and 24-hour care was essential.

At the time of his site visit only nine horses were in care and only five were being treated for laminitis, the latter requiring controlled feeding of drugs through food and intravenous methods. The animals had to be monitored to ensure that they were standing on a deep bed of straw to relieve the pressure on their hooves and to ensure that they did not suffer from colic. But there was a range of potential residential properties within three miles of the site which could allow ready access, with CCTV and other automated systems capable of allowing adequate monitoring. A further concern was the lack of information concerning financial viability. with neither of the appellants drawing a wage from the business. The adverse impact of the caravans on the rural landscape added to the inspector's decision to dismiss the appeal.

Inspector: Ahsan Ghafoor; Hearing

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