DC Casebook: Agricultural Development - Larger horse walker agreed in green belt

The provision of a horse walker at a livery and equestrian centre in the Surrey green belt has been held appropriate despite council claims that only a smaller facility would be justified.

The council had already granted permission for a horse walker with a diameter of almost 14m and a height of just over 2m. It maintained that this would be sufficient to enable up to six animals to be exercised. A facility to enable eight horses to be treated was excessive given the site's green belt location and a roof was not essential, it argued.

The appellant argued that highly-strung animals could become stressed easily and a larger 20m-diameter facility was required so the horses would be less likely to kick the sides or injure staff. The roof would enable them to exercise in wet weather without slipping, he asserted.

The inspector decided that the larger facility was justified. The roof would allow year-round training and reduce the risk of bacterial infections, he reasoned. In his opinion, it comprised an essential facility for a use that preserved the openness of the land and so there was no need for the appellant to demonstrate very special circumstances.

DCS Number 100-064-766

Inspector Michael Evans; Written representations

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