A decision is expected to be made soon on whether or not an indoor horse riding site and associated facilities can be built along Fort Road in Guernsey.
The application faced opposition when it was discussed at an Open Planning Meeting on Wednesday 23 May, but the Development and Planning Authority was told the proposal should be given the go ahead as none of the concerns were considered serious enough to prevent the development happening.
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.
They want 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.
Near neighbours of the site said they had numerous concerns about that proposed development though, with a number of recurring themes including:
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 a 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.
Those speaking in support of the planning application during the Open Planning Meeting included 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.
The applicant, Mrs Farnon, told Express she was not feeling confident the application would be approved yet, as the DPA still had to make a site visit (which happened during the mid/late afternoon of Wednesday 23 May) before considering all of the evidence presented to them.
The development officers had recommended to the DPA the application be approved but it suggested a number of conditions be set ahead of that approval.
The conditions suggested included:
A decision is expected on the planning application shortly.
Pictured top: File image of a indoor horse riding facility elsewhere
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