Day At The Track

Blow for business looking for expansion

06:43 AM 09 Sep 2017 NZST
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There are currently 15 horses in the enterprise, Harness Racing
There are currently 15 horses in the enterprise

A Rural businesswoman’s hopes of expanding her harness racing enterprise have been dashed after councillors refused permission to build a home on the site.

Lyn Mould applied to Stafford Borough Council for permission to build a rural worker’s home on land next to Oaklands on Lapley Road, Church Eaton.

The application was recommended for refusal because it was considered an unsustainable development and insufficient evidence had been provided to demonstrate an essential need for a rural worker to live onsite.

But agent John Hinson told the council’s planning committee that Ms Mould would be unable to expand her equine business without accommodation for a worker.

There are currently 15 horses in the equestrian enterprise and the site is also home to a beef cattle breeding enterprise, which had 19 cattle at the time of a supporting statement being produced.

“This unique rural business was established 29 years ago and has been on this site since 2004. It is owned by a top British harness racing trainer, supported by her daughter and son in law,” Mr Hinson said.

“Because of the lack of dwelling it couldn’t begin to fulfil its potential. If the business develops to include third party horses there would be an essential need for a worker to live on site for husbandry and security on the site.”

A report to the council said that if the home was built “the holding will have the capacity to house an additional 10 horses in training, owned by others and presumably accommodated on a training livery basis”.

Ward councillor Stephen Leighton backed the application. He said: “I would like to call this project in (for consideration by the planning committee) offering my support as I think it will add to the value of the village and support a much-needed business in the village and borough.”

Councillor Ray Sutherland said: “A couple of things concern me; one is the request for financial accounts for the last three years hasn’t been answered. The other thing that concerns me is the number of cattle on the farm has decreased from 24 to 19 and the number of horses has reduced from 17 to 15.”

Six committee members voted in favour of the planning officers’ recommendation and six voted against. Chairman Andrew Harp used his casting vote to refuse planning permission.

By Kerry Ashdown

Reprinted with permission of The Sentinel

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