Planning plea by riding club in field row looks set for rejection

A LONG-RUNNING and increasingly bitter row over a riding club’s use of an agricultural field looks set to be settled after planning officers decided that the group’s activities should be reined in.

People who live close to a field owned by Maltby and District Riding Club have made repeated angry complaints to officials over noise, traffic, privacy, flooding and even disturbance of rare water voles.

Despite this, the club has now lodged a planning application asking for change of use of the land from agricultural to equine use, and for consent to site a portable building on the field.

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At present, the club uses the land under a permit which allows for use on 28 days of the year only, and which stipulates that no structures or buildings must be left on the green belt site.

But according to a council report, horse jumps have been left in position since April, but no enforcement action has been taken pending the outcome of the club’s planning application.

The report says that the field, which is to the south of Lancaster Crescent in Tickhill, south of Doncaster, was allocated as green belt in 1998.

Doncaster Council has received 40 objections to the proposal for the permanent change of use from neighbouring properties.

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Officers say: “The concerns raised are noise and disturbance to residents in relation to the comings and goings from early in the morning, the size of vehicles entering the site and the unloading of horses and the mess they may leave on the path and highway.

“The noise of the Tannoy on show days is also a concern, as is the impact on the privacy of residents in relation to the time when vehicles start to arrive on site.”

Residents have also raised concerns over the use of a portable building on site and future development of the land for commercial uses and for the site to be used for camping and barbecues.

The report continues: “There have been 20 letters of support for the proposal, mostly from people from beyond Tickhill, and it is stated that the use provides an activity that all the community can get involved in and also provides a healthy physical activity.”

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The planning officer in charge of the case has visited several shows held on the field and according to reports 62 vehicles were parked there during a recent show held in June.

The type of vehicles arriving and parked ranged from cars to 4x4s trailers, and HGV and non-HGV horseboxes. The officer said that “occasionally these vehicles are parked on Lancaster Crescent and horses are boxed and unboxed on the road, encroaching into front gardens”.

The use of the Tannoy has a “marginal” effect according to environmental health officers who have assessed the noise levels but the noise from traffic creates a “level of disturbance not normally expected in this edge of settlement location”.

A similar application lodged by the club, which asked for permission to locate two portable buildings on the site, was also refused by Doncaster Council’s planning committee after it was submitted in 2008.

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Planning officers are expected to advise councillors to turn down the latest application on similar grounds.

Their report concludes: “As a result of the monitoring which has taken place, it is considered that the comings and goings of vehicles from 7.30am onwards especially at weekends detracts from the amenities of the surrounding residential properties.

“The proposed relocatable building is industrial in appearance and would harm the openness of the green belt.”

The plan will be discussed by members of the current committee at a meeting to be held on August 30 at Doncaster’s Mansion House.

If permission is refused, the club will be able to continue using the field on 28 days a year, but must not leave any structure on the site outside those times.