Horse breeders given room to expand in Tangmere despite opposition

A family’s ‘passion and hobby’ involving rare Cleveland Bay horses was under discussion at a planning meeting in Chichester.

District councillors voted 10-2 in favour of giving permission for extra stables and a new all-weather ‘therapy paddock’ on land south of Church Lane, Tangmere.

The expansion was given the green light despite strong objections to the scheme from Tangmere Parish Council, which claimed it would be over-development of a greenfield site.

They voiced fears that it could eventually lead to residential accommodation on the land.

The southern area development control committee heard the proposals, submitted by applicant Helen Underwood, involved the extension of the existing timber-clad stable block from three stables to eight, around a U-shape.

The family owns rare Cleveland Bay horses – a breed also reared by the Queen – and shows them at amateur level county events.

In spite of the parish council’s fears of over-development, planning officers said it was felt the 5.6 hectare site was big enough to accommodate the 13 horses there.

They also agreed the extra stabling was needed, partly due to the impact of disease on the rare breed.

As well as extending the stable block, the scheme involved converting part of two grass paddocks into an all-weather therapy paddock.

The horse breeders said extra space was needed with more of the horses reaching maturity, while also ensuring enough space to care for horses during the mares’ gestation period.

A report by the officers said the scale of the proposals was unusual, but the applicants’ explanation that the use was not commercial was reasonable.

Area planning manager Peter Filtness said there had been concern the site might be used for commercial purposes.

He was satisfied this was not the case and that this was a very enthusiastic hobby.

But parish council vice-chairman Brian Wood told the committee: “The proposal far exceeds what could be classified domestic enjoyment and borders on a business or commercial enterprise.”

Tangmere representative Cllr Simon Oakley said a government inspector had described the area as a sensitive rural location in open countryside, where the countryside should be protected for its own sake.

The proposals would facilitate a major extension of activities on this site – a ribbon development along a minor country road.

The number of horses, the size of the proposed paddock, and the value of Cleveland Bays indicated the commercial potential of the site.

“The scale of the development and resulting consequences are inappropriate for this location, and we should refuse planning permission,” he declared.

But Cllr Tricia Tull said: “We have had many applications for stables and equine facilities like this over the years. I don’t find this application unacceptable.”

Planning conditions imposed by the committee include one precluding any commercial use of the site.