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Equestrian site gets the green light despite neighbours' concerns

Equestrian site gets the green light despite neighbours' concerns

Thursday 24 May 2018

Equestrian site gets the green light despite neighbours' concerns

Thursday 24 May 2018

Planning permission has been granted for the development of an indoor horse riding facility and sand school off Fort Road in Guernsey.

A number of neighbours voiced concerns about the plans at an Open Planning Meeting held on Wednesday 23 May, but the Development and Planning Authority chose to take the advice of their planning officers who had recommended the application be approved.

The application was lodged by Mr and Mrs Farnon, with Mrs Farnon speaking at the Open Planning Meeting to ask for their plans to be supported. She told Express following the meeting that she wasn't confident the plans would be passed but she was hopeful the DPA would find in their favour based on the support the application had received from some people.

"I was really grateful to a lot of the riding fraternity who came to support us, which was a super indication of what the need is," she said. 

Mrs Farnon said the development of an indoor horse riding facility had been discussed for around forty years before her plans were approved. "There is a need in this island. You have a horse all year but it is very difficult to compete from October until March and this year even in April because of the wet and the ground conditions, it was just impossible to do anything."

The couple will now be allowed to erect a new indoor riding facility and sandschool, demolish existing outbuildings, remove conifer trees and hedge, create new vehicular access and access road, erect post and rail fencing and carry out landscaping works. 

The planning permission is subject to several conditions which have been designed to address concerns raised by those objecting to the application including potential noise from public address systems, access and parking, limitations on use and provision of external recycling bins.


Pictured: File image of a horse riding sand school

A number of people spoke against the plans when the DPA sat at Beau Sejour on Wednesday afternoon. They included Mr Bougaize, who spoke on behalf of himself and his wife. He said as a keen amateur entomologist he has spent years studying wildlife in the area including moths and he said there was a risk to that wildlife environment if the development is allowed to go ahead. 

He also had fears over the future use of flood lights at the site at the northern end of Fort Road.

Mr G Wilcox also spoke against the plans. He said "good agricultural land" would be wasted if the horse riding school is allowed to be developed while Mr Stansfield said the site is not big enough for all aspects of the proposed development. He said he had concerns over further developments if the plans are approved now.

Mrs Prevel, whose house backs on to the proposed development site, said neighbours had not been consulted during the planning application process. "They didn't speak to any of the neighbouring properties," she said. "It affects people bordering the land but they didn't speak to any of us."

She said she only found out about the plans when someone else pointed out a planning notice to her, which she said was not positioned in an easily accessible place for the public to view it. Mrs Prevel further explained her concerns over the application process by saying that the notice was put on a lamppost in an over grown area in December. The lamppost could "only be seen by chance" and was on the non - pedestrian side of Fort Road.

She complained regarding the position of the planning notice and it was moved to a more prominent position on the gate at the entrance to the site. Mrs Prevel said it was only there briefly before it was removed.


A number of people also spoke to support the plans at the Open Planning Meeting, including a representative of the Guernsey Sports Commission. He told the panel that the Commission was in support of plans to create a home for the sport which would enable equestrians to continue training and competing throughout the winter months.

Kate Ferris, who is Chair of the Guernsey Riding Club said she was speaking on behalf of more than one hundred members. Mrs Ferris said the club is currently unable to hold competitions regularly during the winter due to the weather. She said they are often cancelled due to the weather which can make conditions unsafe for riders and their animals. 

She said this would prevent that; "an indoor facility gives us an opportunity to compete in winter and to continue training in winter," adding that this could lead to further successes for riders from Guernsey representing the island in national and international competitions. 

Mrs Ferris also said that in her experience there have never been traffic issues at other show grounds locally as people will arrive and leave at staggered times. 


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