Training facility blocked in green belt

An indoor riding arena and stables associated with an equestrian centre in the Shropshire green belt have been denied planning permission after an inspector concluded that the appellant had failed to show that they were justified.

The council and the appellant agreed that the 2,300m2 development would be inappropriate in the green belt. But the appellant, who trained showjumping horses to international standard, explained that the building was necessary to allow her to train horses indoors. She argued that expansion of the centre's facilities would enhance the ability of UK horses and riders to compete with their main rivals at the 2012 Olympic Games.

The inspector ruled that such a large building would appear bigger and bulkier than others in the farm complex and would erode the openness and visual amenity of the area. While accepting that the appellant's needs were a material consideration, he concluded that the building would not necessarily guarantee sporting success.

If the appellant proved unable to train horses to the required standard, he reasoned, the building would remain available for her own use. He also feared that the complex could be made available to a less able trainer, effectively removing the justification for the building. In his opinion, the appellant had failed to demonstrate the very special circumstances needed to justify the scheme.

DCS Number 100-050-230

Inspector Jeremy Sargent; Hearing.

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