COUNCILLORS have refused to be saddled with a new equestrian centre in South Tyneside after throwing out plans for stables to protect the borough’s green belt.
South Tyneside Council’s planning committee yesterday rejected an application for stables, a paddock, storage building and shop on land at High House Farm Cottage in Newcastle Road, West Boldon.
The committee was warned that the new buildings would result in “substantial harm to the openness of the green belt” and was contrary to recommended planning policy.
After paying a visit to the application site, members rejected the proposals, despite a last-minute plea from the applicant, Adrian Bonner, of Beacon Glade, South Shields.
Mr Bonner was unable to appear before the committee but did send observations to senior council planner Gordon Atkinson.
He said: “The site is not fit for equestrian use as it stands. It is far too rough and uneven for horses, and there are no stable facilities.
“In this case, I believe the improvement to the area will be considerable.
“The truth is that the area is in poor condition and not appealing to the eye. The proposed plans would see the site improved and make it much more visibly appealing. It would be transformed from a rough, unappealing site.”
However, Mr Atkinson told members that the development was “clearly inappropriate” and harmful to the green belt. Members were also told that the occupier of next-door High House Farm was opposed to the application amid concern over a possible increase in heavy goods vehicle traffic.
A report to the committee said: “The occupier says that a bottleneck is already active in front of High House Cottage, caused by daily parking of up to seven vehicles at Trade Vans, the commercial operation next to the cottage, and full-time parking by the residents of High House Cottage.
“The objector describes how this causes heavy goods vehicles and articulated vehicles having to back up to his property and having to make two or three attempts to transit through the cottage’s parking zone, which, in turn, blocks the driveway.”
The report added: “The principal and fundamental question in this case is the potential harm to the green belt by way of inappropriateness. The additional harm identified is that there would be substantial harm to the openness of the green belt by the construction of new buildings on the site.
“This would totally undermine the fundamental green belt policy to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open.
Mr Bonner is now understood to be considering whether to appeal against the committee’s decision to the Planning Inspectorate.