Fragmentation of racehorse training yard in AONB rejected

The discharge of an obligation restricting the use of a racehorse training yard in the AONB in Berkshire and the modification of a condition restricting the occupation of associated yard dwellings have been refused and allowed respectively to both protect the specific use in the area but also give some greater commercial flexibility.

The inspector stated the main issues were whether the site should be restricted to racehorse training solely, whether accommodation at the site should be restricted to employees use only and also whether removal of strips of land at the site would affect the functioning of the stables. He considered the tests of "suitability" and "necessity" in the adopted local plan policy and found that whilst the realtively small yard was less well located in respect of access to gallops than other similar enterprises in the area, it performed a necessary function in the hierarchy of sizes of yards for the workings of the racehorse training industry generally. He concluded on the first appeal, regarding the discharging of a planning obligation, that the loss of restriction regarding its usage would lead to fragmentation of the yard and the overall loss of the facility, contrary to specific local plan policies trying to protect this usage in the AONB. In relation to other appeals at the same site realting to the planning obligation and refusal to remove conditions, the inspector found in favour of the appellant as he felt the alterations were minor and wider usage regarding the training of horses and wider interpretation of employee accommodation would facilitate the commercial success of the  horse training centre whilst not detrimentally affecting the functioning of the yard.

The inspector made a partial award of costs against the council for acting unreasonably in offering no logical explanation for resisting the appeals reagarding the removal of strips of land at the site.

Inspector: Tim Wood; Hearing

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