Refusal and enforcement action for ‘horsiculture’ development

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‘HORSICULTURE’ came under scrutiny when an application to erect a stable block and hay barn to replace existing planning for four stables, tack and feed room on land east of Jackets Hill, Thakeham, was discussed by councillors at a meeting of Horsham District Council’s area two development control committee last week.

Mr Angus Gordon had applied for the permission, along with retrospective permission for a rolled stone track and hard standing area and also for relocation and enlargement of a sand school at the site.

He said the site was being used for private agricultural use, and not in connection with the previous commercial equestrian use of Pulborough Equestrian, which had relocated to the site.

Planning officer Gary Peck told the committee that a number of things had happened at the site in the last few weeks. He said 12 metres of track had been installed. Hard standing had been created, some of which would be covered if a barn was relocated, there was a log cabin with no planning permission, which was used for living quarters, and a larger sand school than permitted had been installed. The whole centre of the site had been switched from an area screened from local homes to one where the site was conspicuous. A stretch of hedgerow had been removed and replaced by non-native laurel hedge which would not sustain any form of wildlife.

Resident Malcolm Dimmond said the scheme was ‘inappropriate’ and much of the work carried out was unauthorised. He was concerned that Puborough Equestrian was still active as a company and that this was a blatant commercial use. The sand school had doubled in size and a 350 metre track installed to serve relocation of buildings.

Jean Locker of Pulborough Village Action Group said the development would allow ruination of the countryside.

“The scale of the work being done is immense, very visible and local people want the countryside back here,” she added.

Owner, Mr Gordon, said the sand school had been relocated because the original area flooded. The stables did not need planning permission

But members agreed that planning permission should be refused and enforcement action taken against unauthorised development so far.

Cllr Jonathan Chowen said the site had changed out of all recognition and the applicant had shown a very cavalier attitude to ‘a very sensitive site’.