PLANNING permission to build an indoor horse riding arena in Penketh has been refused by council chiefs.
Andrew Hales, of Friends Lane Stables, applied to build a small extension to the existing reception building, three additional stables, additional parking and an indoor riding arena.
In planning documents he stated the indoor arena, approximately 45 metres by 20 metres, would ensure ‘year round availability’.
He said: “I believe the visitor experience would be greatly improved by an onsite indoor arena as we could provide a seated indoor area for spectators.
“We find many riders are accompanied by parents and/or grandparents some of whom prefer to sit down but don’t want to miss the lesson.
“It is also envisaged that solar panels will be incorporated on the roof of the reception building and the new indoor facility.
“It is proposed that teaching is increased in response to public demand still to be in half hour sessions throughout the day to suit demand on a one to one basis the working day being from 10am to 8pm.”
Teaching is also given for the driving of horse drawn carriages which are stored on site.
12 more car parking spaces were proposed taking the total to 20 and four additional part time staff would have been employed.
The plans received several objections from nearby residents on Friends Lane who said that parking on their road is already a problem with the current number of people attending the riding school.
They said: “Increased traffic going to and from stables down the narrow lane is already a problem. This includes the number of vehicles and the speed they travel down the lane.
“This is likely to increase with proposals.
“Parking at the stables makes the junction with Laburnum Lane and Friends Lane extremely busy and dangerous as there is not adequate parking at the stables. Cars park on the junction and then if no places are available will use the rest of Friends Lane.
“It is no longer safe for children to play on the lane because of the increased traffic flow and speed of vehicles in both directions.”
However, there were many people in support of the extension and new arena who said it has been a ‘fantastic’ resource for the community.
One man wrote: “My personal experience as an older rider, aged 51, is that riding here has had a profoundly positive effect on my physical and mental well being.
“It is therapeutic and having an indoor arena would ensure I continue to have those health benefits, whatever the weather.”
Planning chiefs rejected the application on the basis that it would be harmful to Green Belt land.