Showground refusal 'silly'

PROTECTING a rubbish dump, old packing sheds and Tarmac by classing it as agricultural land is stopping the British Show Jumping Association from improving facilities, it has said.

Gail Simon, left, and Susie Farnon of the BSJA and the land it wanted to improve at its Chemin le Roi property. (Picture by Tom Tardif, 1304154)
Gail Simon, left, and Susie Farnon of the BSJA and the land it wanted to improve at its Chemin le Roi property. (Picture by Tom Tardif, 1304154)

PROTECTING a rubbish dump, old packing sheds and Tarmac by classing it as agricultural land is stopping the British Show Jumping Association from improving facilities, it has said.

The group has been left frustrated by Environment’s refusal to allow part of the Chemin le Roi showground to be changed from agricultural to recreational use.

In the refusal notice, planning director Jim Rowles said the change would have led to an irreversible loss of agricultural land.

Local BSJA trustee Susie Farnon said the refusal was silly and challenged the ruling that the former greenhouse site was good for growing, stating that the topsoil was thin and parts of the land had old buildings on it.

Comments for: " Showground refusal 'silly'"


The Environment department are making a rational move in retaining agricultural land. If fully utilised, it would be conducive towards making the island self-sufficient and may even lead to a revival in the traditional agricultural and horticultural industries- a prospect that PB Falla, as someone who yearns to revert to the 'old days', may find appealing...

What significant amenity value do the BSJA equestrian events have anyway ? A philosophical, or even scientific, argument would convince the Environment department that agriculture is the most favourable land use. I wonder how a member of the horsey fraternity would advantage themself over someone who has a far more convincing argument than they have when engaging in a discussion on this subject...

Island Wide Voting


The Post Office HQ was built on agricultural land,St Sampsons High and the new Beaucamps schools were built on agricultural land,the new housing estate extension at St Martins was built on agricultural land,the proposed technology park off Route Militaire will be built on agricultural land and the airport runway re-alignment (it is not an extension) is being built on agricultural land

All rational Environment moves?



Most of those developments were rational moves, yet some of them were to satisfy the island's wants, rather than needs. A new Beaucamps School was necessary as the former was barely suitable for teaching in, but I don't think that the new St Sampson's High School arose from deep need- the old one was antiquated, but still in a satisfactory condition for learning. The St Martin's housing estate was a need, but it's questionable as to whether the new Route Militaire industrial estate or expansion of the existing airport was needed.

Nevertheless, that doesn't mean that we ought to use a lack of satisfactory resources and space for commercial activity as a pretext for developing land that could have been used for fulfilling an actual need- food for the population, which is more of a prerequisite than the former resources/businesses.

Though many would argue that the island is far from ideal, our standard of living as a whole is neither above nor below the mean in quality- the focus can now shift to raising the amount of local produce. I do agree,however, that something ought to be done to improve the housing situation for the underprivileged- that ought to be the second priority.


Oh, by the way, part of the agricultural land ought to be used for cultivating leguminous crops as the conditions that they create in the soil are favourable to the growth of other crops/plants that will serve as a valuable source of nourishment if we wish to work towards creating an Autarkic (self-sufficient) economy. I believe that it was Dave Gorvel who advocated the idea of local food production.

Sugared Brazil Nut

Spending time on Valentines Day trawling through your Bumper Book of Big Words?

Thought you'd be cosying up with the love of your life at this special time Ed.......ahh, of course. Silly me.

Maybe the land could be classed as quasi-agricultural if they let horses roam around it for a while and then flog them on to Findus. Not in line with your arable panacea, I do concede, but a long standing part of the food chain nevertheless. Plus a few by-products like glue and cat food and this seems a good economic proposition.


You're wrong SBN. Ed DID spend Valentine's Day cosying up with the love of his life - his thesaurus!

Island Wide Voting

Horseradish before horses

Parsnips before ponies

Shallots before showgrounds

It's all covered in chapter 999 in Environment's great big book of unbreakable rules


and don't forget:

Wasting taxpayer money by, after declining anything, allowing multiple applications for the same thing with minor changes

PB Falla

Ita another neigh then from the enviroment


If it is agricultural land it should remain agricultural land. It seems to me a few very wealthy people with a few ponies want their own way and have thrown their dummies out of the pram because someone has stood up to them.

Ms Farnon is an ex_KPMG partner and current Commissioner at the Guernsey Financial Services Commission so I am surprised at her making protests in the middle of a muddy field. I would have thought she had better things to do like regulating the finance industry.

Island Wide Voting


It says that the photo was taken on 1304154 which was a Saturday


Lyn, I'm sure than even the GFSC Commisioner is entitled to utilise her spare time in the same way as you or I!


Oh dear.

This story coming to light with all the news of horse meat production.


Why does permission to use the area for showjumping necessarily mean an "irreversible" loss of agricultural land?

I've never understood why permission cannot be granted with a proviso that it would have to be changed back to agricultural usage, at the owner's expense, if it is ever required again for that purpose. Have the Law Officers never heard of enduring covenants? Its not that difficult.

And its hardly a "loss of agricultural land" if its not actually being used for agricultural purposes now.



That doesn't mean that it can't be used for agricultural purposes from now on...



If it was needed now for agricultural purposes, then why isn't it beng used?



In my view and the opinion of local environmentalists it ought to be used now, but the States members, such as Mike O' Hara, are more concerned about creating a new skate park- something that has very little anemity value and long term benefit. I fully acknowledge and respect the need for the States to invest time and effort into solving the issues of housing shortages and creating new housing, but equally important is the need to cultivate local produce to improve self-sufficiency in anticipation of climate change and subsequent depeltions in grain harvests in places such as the USA.



I'm somewhat confused by your response.

Nobody is suggesting that the area be built on or tarmaced over so that it is incapable of reverting to agricultural use.

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough. My view is that conditional change of use should be allowed, but not by carrying out any development which would affect a return to agricultural usage if and when that land is required for that purpose.

In other words, let fields be used for equestrian or playing rugby or football or cricket or any other sport, for example, if the modification required is negligible. For example, if the owner of the land was capable of removing whatever was used there (horse fences, goalposts etc) so that the land could be usable for agricultural use within 3 months of being required to do so, then what's the problem?

Call it temporary change of use (renewable for say 2 years at a time) or conditional change of use, or whatever, but it surely cannot beyond us to legislate for that.

I would say to the BSJA yes, you can clear the land, you can grass it over, you can put temporary structures on it (horse fences)', and you can have temporary change of use for recreational purposes for two years at a time, but at BSJA's own cost if permission is not renewed in the future then BSJA must remove the temporary structures and ensure that that the land is usable for agriculture within 3 months, with no compensation due.

Job done.


But, Jimbo, I think it ought to be utilised for agriculture very soon. I think that their ought to be a lengthy discussion, even debate, between members of the local horsey fraternity and environmentalists in the imminent future.

Raising the amount of local produce is a major prerequisite from a long term perspective- we need to go by the long term perspective as it is this that will enable us to prosper and so enable a continuation of humanity. I know that the latter thought may sound rather melodramatic, but what many on this forum ( I am not suggesting that it is necessarily a bad thing) fail to do is to apply philosophy and science- it is ingenious developments in these fields that has produced favourable change by leading to enhanced spiritual, physical, psychological and material mell being. I am sorry that this bores some of you, but it is quite rational to assess the situation critically.

local food.

Jimbo. You ask why isn't the field being used for agricultural purposes now. Firstly because it's not a farmer that owns it. And secondly because farmers are being priced out of the market....... they can't afford the prices that fields now change hands for.



Your second paragraph completely over-analyses the situation. Let me simplify it for you. It's about supply and demand. At the moment, there is insufficient demand for agricultural use. That may well change in the future. If it does, then make sure that the land is capable of being returned to agricultural usage. Until then, let it be used by somebody else who has a current demand for it.

I used the word "temporary" very deliberately in my earlier post.

local food.


I don't think that that is right. The farmers would like more land for farming but they cannot compete with the prices that horse owners are prepared to pay for fields. I have heard James Watts on the radio saying that the farming community loses acres of land every year to horses. And I love horses and like to see some of them. But the sad fact is that there are now so many that it is causing problems for farmers


Local food

I understand that view, but surely by extending an existing centralised equestrian facility it should alleviate the broader demand to use other land for equestrian facilities.

There are many other fields on the island which can be used for agricultural purposes, so why is this particular one such a problem? It doesn't stack up as an argument until and unless the island is actually running out of agricultural land, which it certainly isn't at present. However that's my reasoning for suggesting a temporary 2-year permission, so that its status can quickly be changed back again and all parties go into it with open eyes.

local food.

Jimbo. Alleviate the broader demand or create a precedence? My comment is not necessarily aimed at this particular field or even the broader concept of allowing fields to be temporarily used for alternative activities. It was in response to what I think is your misguided belief that farmers have plenty of land that they can use for farming.

It is simply not true to say that there is no demand for agricultural land. Farmers get paid a pittance for their product largely because we all expect our food to cost less than the cost of production. They are not in the same league as those with deep pockets that can buy up land at the inflated prices that Guernsey land now sells for.

You might see plenty of green fields as you drive around the island, but a huge amount of them are NOT available to the farming community, who as I have already said are being priced out of the market. If farmers can’t afford to buy the fields, which at current prices they can’t, they rely on renting but even that is being closed off to them as landowners realise that they can make much more money renting out to horse owners. There are now more horses in Guernsey than cows. (Others buy fields simply so that they can mow them and look at them.)

I also find the argument that a field that hasn’t been used for agriculture for years should be fair game for ‘change of use’ a dangerous argument. It is an invitation for people to buy up fields and sit on them long enough so that they can then apply to use them for something else, even in some cases develop them with things like aircraft hangers.


Local food

Sorry I just don't see that demand for farming land that you allude to. Where's the workforce to farm the land? Would we have to import more immigrants to work on the farms for a pittance in order to sell produce at prices which can compete with the supermarkets? The numbers just don't stack up because of local labour costs.

local food.


That must be because you are not looking. I have seen it happen to several of the fields around us and I know that the farmer who previously rented them is now struggling to find the fields he needs to run his herd of cows and grow the feed he needs. If they can't find the necessary land, they have to cull their herds because by law you must have a certain amount of land per animal.

I know that there is a desperate shortage of suitable agricultural land that farmers can afford to use...... fact!


local food

That may be, but they aren't using this particular piece of land, which has tarmac and remains of buildings on it, so what possible "loss of land" would there be by granting temporary change of use for it? Its very different from taking away some land which is currently being used for agricultural purposes.

I'm all in favour of keeping our countryside as green as possible. How does using an unused field as an extension to an existing equestrian facility compromise that?

local food.

Jimbo. If you re-read my comments you will see that they are specifically in response to your claims that there is no demand for agricultural fields which is simply a statement that is untrue.

On Feb 16 at 9.06 you said... ‘It’s about supply and demand. At the moment, there is insufficient demand for agricultural use.’ And I corrected you on that. There is demand but the prices horse owners are willing to pay outstrips what farmers are able to pay by a considerable amount and it is causing problems for local farmers.

In my post Feb 17 at 11.27, you will see that I am not commenting necessarily on this particular field, or the broader concept of what you are suggesting but on what I think is your lack of understanding of the farming situation in Guernsey at the moment.

As far as this particular field is concerned, of course it hasn’t been used for agriculture recently. The BSJA own it and keep it for their own activities. How could it have been farmed? I made that point in my first post.

A single field in some far flung corner of the island would be of limited use to most farmers since the time and effort to get to separate fields constitutes an added cost to their operation that they cannot afford in terms of both time and effort. It is best for them if the land they farm, either by owning or renting the land, is in as much of a block as possible. This field directly abuts good farming land so I would imagine would be a particularly good one to protect under agricultural zoning. I would imagine that the neighbouring farmer would love to get his hands on it but no chance of that ever happening particularly if they were given ‘temporary’ permission to improve its facilities as an equestrian center.

I am glad that you are in favour of keeping our countryside as green as possible. Sadly we have already lost hundreds of acres, much of which has been lost owing to it being used ‘temporarily’ for other activities after which of course it doesn’t revert to agricultural land...... just look at all the ex vinery sites, which are left to rot by owners who hope that if they leave them long enough they will eventually be allowed to develop the land. I am sure the owners use the argument that they haven’t been used for horticulture or agriculture for years when applying for a permanent change of use.

Island Wide Voting

Jimbo at 5.29pm

Please volunteer for one of the appeal panels which are having to sit on a regular basis nowadays to try to unscramble some of Environment's bizarre rulings

If only there was a common-sense-o-meter available to scan prospective Deputies when they turn up on your doorstep once every four years

I can't see a local farmer ( certainly not at the present time)purchasing that field for many thousands or renting it to plant say Brussel sprouts which are readily available fresh at a few pence per pound or frozen at a pound per bag

No, until Iran or North Korea start World War Three or some gigantic space rock hits this planet, Environment's ruling will merely result in that parcel of land being left completely unused and untended like so much of this precious commodity in the form of derelict vineries

Jimbo's temporary two year permit is a simple and common sense idea which would go a long way towards easing that shameful waste of resources


Island Wide Voting

You are absolutely right. How about we set up a "Common Sense and Transparency Party"? Such a party would get a massive majority at the next election if the TIG blog is indicative of public opinion.

Application of common sense to States' decisions, absolutely no cover-ups, and resulting full accountability. What's not to like?

Farmers Wife

I have to point out that the bit of land that is being talked about is owned by the BSJA and they have had no intention to use it for agricultural purposes (it was in a mess when they bought it however) although it was zoned as agricultural and they knew this when they bought it. They haven't attempted to give it an agricultural purpose as that would get in the way of their activities.

Are you suggesting that we should have a law that encourages people to buy agricultural land and do nothing with it for a number of years so that they can then apply for a temporary change of use on it. I'm affraid I have to strongly disagree. Why would a farmer want to invest his money in land that he didn't know if it was going to have a change of use slapped on it in a couple of years. There seems to be a lack of knowledge of how farming works. Land is an asset that has to be tended and invested in, a crop may take a year to reward a farmer with anything. Stocking rates of animals is linked to amount of land farmed so losing fields results in losing animals.

A temporary change of use on land policy is flawed, that is why it doesn't exist.


Farmers Wife

We will have to agree to disagree. With respect, you are completely over-dramatising the situation.

You talk about farmers fearing that their land will have "change of use slapped on it in a couple of years". Er, no, that could only happen if they as the landowner were actually going to apply for change of use. If they aren't, then its academic and they have nothing to fear.

Farmers Wife

Dear Jimbo,

I will agree to disagree but with respect you are completely under playing the importance of the lack of fields available to the Dairy Farmers of Guernsey. I live and work in the Dairy Industry and I fully understand the requirements for land.

I have read all your posts and in reply to your question there are curently 23 Dairy farmers in Guernsey, I cannot comment on the number of pig farmers, sheep farmers and growers there are.

Each one of those dairy farms runs with, one, two or three men. There is no requirment for imported labour as you suggest.

You seemed to have forgotten your own proposal for a temporary change of use for agricultural land policy. I was meerly pointing out that if a landowner had a plot of agricultural land which he or she wanted to do something else with you would not find a farmer to take on that land if it would only be for a possibility of two years. As pointed out by other people to you such a policy would encourage people to buy agricultural land, do nothing with it and then apply for a temporary change of use.

You also seem to think that farmers own all the land that they farm, this is just not the case. We have 72 different landlords and own about 1/8th of the land we farm. I again state that our stocking rates are directly linked to the amount of land we farm and if we lose land we lose animals. This is states policy, I am not being dramatic as you suggest, meerly factual.

Famers wife

I must say that we only currently have 36 landlords, 72 was the highest number we were paying during the last 43 years of our dairy farm existing. I apologise if that was misleading.

The point still being that if there was the ability to apply for a temporary change of use on their land we would find ourselves having little control over the land we farm.

We are extremely grateful to all our landlords for supporting the dairy industry in Guernsey.


Farmers Wife, Local Food and Horses for Courses

I hear what you all say and am happy to agree to disagree. This is a small island and there will always be a disequilibrium between supply and demand. There is no easy answer to this, and I maintain that a new common sense category of STRICTLY temporary change of use is all part of a give and take strategy. It is simply impossible to keep everyone happy.


What Jimbo proposes makes complete sense in the present day and age- might not make sense in ten years but given that it is quickly and easily reversible, if we need the land in a few years time it is there and ready to be used.

Any temporary change of use could also come with a hefty annual fee to help fill the black hole- this fee should serve somewhat to keep an even playing field for fear of farmers being priced out of the market by rich horse owners.

Terry Langlois

Rachel - no it does not make sense, it is a completely ludicrous idea.

First - the current landowner is not looking for a temporary change of use, they want the right to build nice new facilities. Why would they invest in those facilities if the use could be taken away in two years' time? So the idea does not work for the current landowner

Second, you say that it can be reversed "if we need the land in a few years time". But who is the "we" in that sentence? The landowner owns the land. No-one else has any right to say "Oi, I need that field" unless they buy the land. So the landowner will continue to claim that the "temporary" land use should continue because no-one else can use the land.

Third, the restrictions on land use are there to ensure that land stays within its current usage. If only a farmer can make use of a field, only a farmer will want to buy it, which keeps prices affordable so that a farmer can then afford to buy it. As soon as you let a horseowner buy a field and develop it with facilities for horses, that land becomes more expensive. And the farmers will never get a look-in ever again.


I get your point Terry.

It seems to me that a lot of people buy fields, being agriculturally zoned, just because they want something pretty to look at. Just because it is zoned "agricultural" does not mean that it will be used that way at all by an owner. You can't force everyone to be a farmer and rightly or wrongly they are using this land (or not using it) for selfish purposes. At least this way, if there was a temporary change of use, it would be a good revenue raiser for the states. Due to its temporary nature then of course nothing would be allowed to be built on this land or it changed in any way which could not be reversed quickly and easily. I imagine under a temporary use they could be allowed to be able to ride their horses on it - not build stables or other structures that you suggest (which i am strongly against btw). All i am saying is let them ride but also let them pay grandly for the temporary privilege.

Terry Langlois

Rachel, they can ride their horses in the "agricultural" field now. No change of use, whether temporary or permanent, is needed for that.

The issue is that they want to improve facilities - which I take to mean that they want to build new sheds/stables or change the surface.

local food.


You are right that you can’t force anyone who owns agricultural land to ‘be a farmer’, but there could be more encouragement for landowners to allow farmers to farm their land. The present situation is forcing the local farming population into a corner because they are unable to compete with the prices that horse owners are willing to pay for fields. Allowing temporary ‘change of use’ for riding activities would simply exacerbate that situation because as Terry says above, what incentive would any owner have of ever turning it back to agriculture? It would be much more valuable to them with the ‘temporary changes‘ made. Land use restrictions are there to protect the farming community and it is already debatable as to whether they are strong enough. Land that is given ‘temporary change of use’ are rarely returned to their original form. (I think that Change of Use for personal growing or allotments is a different and more complicated argument.)

This particular field and area requesting planning approval, despite being zoned as agricultural, is already used exclusively for horse riding. Farmers have no access to it despite as I have explained in several posts further up, it being sandwiched between fields that are being farmed.


Terry, i wasn't aware that they were able to ride on the land now - surely that is recreational use? They should be grateful that they are allowed to do that.


Am I wrong in remembering a large piece of argrcultural land at Landes du Marche being built on by a commercial concern last year.

glue factory.

Hopefully, this is the start of the enviroment dept starting to crack down on the loss of farmland to the horsey set, where once horses used the small patches that were too small for farmers to use, now we see huge swathes of land post and rail fenced for these horses, a prime example is what was possibly one of the largest fields in st saviours, near the church,turned into railed paddocks, and a great sandschool with hundreds of tonnes of imported sand, sat right in the middle of it, with a huge amount of relevelling of the field done to create a level area, i cant see that going back to farmland, ever !

as for the rezoning at st martins, this is so the horsey set can show off their latest horsebox,in days past, riders would ride to these events, then a landrover and box was used, upgrades to range rovers and shiny trailer were then needed, and now its a purposebuilt lorry, with often , living accomadation!!!! on an island this size!! keeping up with the joneses springs to mind, and these people use the show jumping circle to inflict equine snobbery on each other, too many horses on the island, and too much land lost to them, well done enviroment, start clamping down on a few more sites please


What is 'silly', Susie, is the apparent refusal of you and your supporters to take no for an answer, and insist that you get your own way.


Horse riding usually starts as a hobby, then turns into a passion,so much so that,very little else in life seems to matter to these people.

This Island is far too small for us all to have hobbies which might, or will, demand large areas of land on a permanent basis.

A simple solution for those with such a passion,could be, to move to somewhere else in the world, where there is ample 'space'to continue with their 'passion.

The UK or France spring to mind


The Environmental refusing permission for change of use from agricultral to recreational. This land was hoticultral before the removal of glasshouses not agricultral.

I cannot see any problem if they grass it down once the tarmac has been lifted and buildings and the rubbish including the double decker removed.Infill with topsoil and sow grass seed,

Doing the above then becomes agricultral.

As it stands at present its looks like a big tarmaced carpark in the middle of nowhere.


"Protecting a 'rubbish dump, old packing sheds and Tarmac' by classing it as agricultural land is stopping the British Show Jumping Association from improving facilities"...

IT has said'.

The Association has said that. Of course it has, islander, it's in the Association's own best interests to play down what's there and make out it's no loss big deal so they can get what they want, a pretty obvious ploy at the best of times....

have you even seen the land in question for yourself...?

There is already enough of our island dedicated to those who have enough spare cash to spend on this incredibly expensive hobby, that, as someone else pointed out, becomes an obsession for so many, and the attitude displayed here is sadly indicative of the arrogance of many of those who pursue that hobby.

The rules apply to everyone. Period.


Horses_for _Courses.

I was just pointing out the definition of horticultural[which as present] and agricultural.

I was only trying to think how the environmental department class land from former vinaries and derelic glasshouses.

Donkey's Wotsits

The horsey set is now far worse than the land-hungry golfers. Their detrimental impact on the rural landscape and its wildlife is extensive.


Why is it, that rich Brits are so good at sports that require the great skill of being seated on an expensive piece of equipment (think rowing, sailing, cycling, horse riding etc)?

I couldn't even fund the cost of transporting a horse about the place, let alone feed it and pay the vet bills.

How much was Carl Hester's dressage horse being offered for sale recently (sorry, can't be a***d to Google it. Money is what achieves the medals and accolades.

The horsey brigade love to portray themselves as 'inclusive' but as long as their events are sponsored by Rolex and champagne companies I feel they will have difficulty achieving this spurious claim.

Farmers Wife

I am concerned that any memeber of our community doesn't think that there is a demand for agricultural land. I ask what 'Jimbos' background is? I am at the heart of the dairy community and I can assure you that agricultural land is in great demand by dairy farmers at the least. Can I just ask that because you see a field sown to grass all year do you think this is not in use. Grass is a crop either to be grazed or harvested, just because you don't see something in a field doesn't mean the field is not being used for agricultural purposes.

I have to agree with 'local foods' comment farmers are being priced out of buying land. If you look at the highest prices paid for land over the last 10 years it will all be for single fields (not blocks of land) bought by the equine fraternity, someone who just wants to keep thier horse at home, gets permission to put up stables within their domestic curtiledge and buys the field next door for an extravagent amount, because it's the only one they are interested in so they can pay through the nose for it. I have seen it happen time after time. Also people have bought agricultural land round their house and just mown it. I have to strongly question anyone who thinks there is not a requirement by the farming community for agricultural land.


Farmers Wife

My point is that there seems to be plenty of other potential land available, and that there is logic in prioritising sites. If you had read my previous posts, I am very clearly suggesting temporary change of use, not permanent change of use. That way, the site would always become available for agricultural use again within a maximum of 2 years. In the interim, other sites would have priority for agricultural use. Is 2 years unreasonable?

I'm not at all convinced though that your suggested high demand for agriculture land at present is accurate. How many working farmers are there on the island? How many people are they employing? How many will have retired in another 10 years time with nobody to replace them? I maintain that high labour costs on the island makes it very hard for farming to be viable, with or without lower land prices, Labour is still required to work the land.

If was advocating permanent change of use of agricultural land, which I very clearly am not, then I think your concerns would be far more valid.


No Jim, what you're suggesting is that in this case, these ladies and their Association should get their way, regardless of the law.

What the rest of us appear to be suggesting - I most certainly am - is that the rules apply to the rich horsey crowd as much as they do the rest of us, whether we judge them fair, silly, or whatever, and that there is already enough land given over to the equine community here without giving in to their demands for more.

Farmer's wife is right, landowners can and do get top dollar from the wealthy to facilitate their equine obsession, and naturally, potential farmers don't usually have access to that sort of cash.

I find it difficult to understand why Mrs Farnon doesn't have a better understanding of these laws, especially as, she herself must have surely had many communications with the Envo Dept over the years for huge amount of development she's done on her own property and surrounding green zoned fields.


Horses for Courses

With respect, please look at what I posted, rather than what you think I posted.

BSJA want permanent change of use. I am advocating temporary change of use so that the land is not permanently lost to agriculture. There is a massive difference.


Not sure if your post was aimed at my post or Horses for Course's post, but no, I don't have experience or substantial knowledge regarding Farmer's Wife's comments on the shortage of land, although I have spoken to a few estate agents who deal with sales of land and who generally have a good feel for supply and demand for fields.

Someone "at the heart of the industry" may well know what they are talking about. They also would clearly have a vested interest.

For the record, I have absolutely no interest in horses, apart from occasionally backing them and invariably losing! I don't have any vested interests. I am just a fan of common sense.


I am perfectly aware of what you're proposing, Jim....

I just don't agree with you. Period.

As for the price of fields, let's consider the price, and whilst we're at it, the double standards over here...

there's that one up by the airport. A company bought it for stupid amounts of money that no mere mortal could afford (or cash strapped owner, turn down), and eventually, after a squillion costly applications to Envo, they got permission for the private aircraft hangar for the rich boys to park their toys in, that is now due to destroy that land and blight the neigbours with noise and aggravation. Anyone tempted to move from there can also look forward to getting a lot less for their house than they would have if the field had been left as grass/spuds......not that it had a hope in hell of being that once that company identified the cash cow they're now allowed to build.

meanwhile, literally just down the road (where the rest of us peasants live) - and elsewhere on the island - Envo are intent on crucifying anyone who puts up a small garden shed on land where they grow their own.

If it's not a bunker style uber house crammed onto a plot that used to house a tiny bungalow, whilst the rest of us juggle pennies to see if we can afford an application to put up a garden fence, a playboy's shed to keep their flying toys on greenbelt, or this, the wealthy horsey crowd demanding yet more land for the sole purpose of their equine chums, it seems that money talks louder than anything else over here...

that's why I am bemused by Mrs Farnon's comments, but not at all surprised.

Look forward to lots of costly appeals 'til they get their own way.


Horses_for_Courses, I do wish you would stop referring to the equine fraternity as 'the rich horsey crowd'.

Being a member of the 'horsey' community myself I can assure you that I am not rich (if only!) quite the opposite actually because I own horses!

I, like many others on this island have had to make sacrifices in order to afford my 'obsession' as you describe it, so please stop stereotyping people unnecessarily.


Sarnia, I apologise, as someone with a lifetime's experience of horses myself, and who has intimate knowledge of the associated huge multiple costs, I should have said,

'The rich horsey crowd, and those who can ill afford it, yet are so obsessed, they are willing to spend most of their income on it, usually to the detriment of pretty much everything else in their life'

The owning of horses is considered a rich man's pursuit for very good reasons, and rich or no, the horsey sets need to put their equine friends first - and expect everyone else to, as well - never ceases to amaze me.


Horses_For_Courses, fair enough if that's your point of view. I personally don't feel it's detrimental to any other part of my life but that's by the by.

Out of interest, how did you/do you manage your horses land? I assume you must have rented/bought fields of your own?

Much like Farmers Wife's comment below, we are very careful not to overgraze and don't turn out in bad weather. What little land we have avaliable to us, we try to maintain so as not to require further grazing to the detriment of farmers. Also, the land we do have is relatively small portions and would not be of much use for hay, crops or herds of cattle for example.


My family, who could ill afford them, have always had horses they kept on their own land.

I grew up around that, often went without so the horses could have their every need catered to, but, nevertheless, I love horses and don't have a problem with the owning of horses itself....

it's the obsessive, arrogant attitude and sense of entitlement that many - not all - horse owners have, that I can't stand.


Do you have experience or substantial knowledge regarding Farmers Wife`s comments on the shortage of land? I think someone at the heart of the industry would know what their talking about? unless you have evidence to the contrary?.

Farmers Wife

I would like to thank the very few landowners that refuse to be lured by the big rents willing to be pad by the equine fraternity and thus allowing farming to continue on this Island.

I was approached last night by a lady who was 'willing to pay top draw' to rent or buy more land around her house to put her two horses on as she is yet another person that the enviroment department has allowed to errect stables at her home. It is never ending as the equine community don't appear to know how to use the land that their horses graze and are ever hungry for more as the bit they use, they abuse.


Farmers Wife

What is your view concerning self-suffiency in local agricultural produce ? It would be interesting to know as I think the land mentioned in this article ought to be utilised for cultivating crops that will enable us to remain well-nourished as crop supplies overseas, such as those in the USA and Russia, become further depleted as a result of climate change.


Agri/Equine - what's the difference these days anyway?!

In all seriousness, I fully support Environment on this call.

Donkey's Wotsits

I would say the difference is obvious. One is only a hobby and the other provides our food. However, if eating the blighters becomes acceptable to society, that might help the situation.


It was an attempt at humour which apparently fell at the first hurdle...

Island Wide Voting

A farmer was tending his livestock in a remote pasture on the Torteval / St Peters border when suddenly a brand-new white BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him

At first he thought it must be an armed police raid but then the driver, a young man in an Armani suit, Gucci shoes and RayBan sunglasses leans out the window and explains that he is carrying out a survey of underused arable land and then asks the farmer, "If I can tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your field, will you give me a lamb?"

Jean-Pierre looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing animals and calmly answers, "OK, why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo

The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in the North of England

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-Tech Miniaturized HP LaserJet printer and turns to the farmer and says, "You have exactly 158 sheep and lambs."

"Cor chapin that’s exactly right. Well, I suppose you’ve just won yourself a lamb," says Jean-Pierre and he watches the young man as he selects one of the animals and struggles to stuff it into the boot of his BMW

Then the farmer says "Hey, would it be fair to win my animal back if I can tell you exactly what your business is?”

The yuppie thinks about it for a second and then says, "OK, why not old timer?"

"You work at the Environment Department", says the farmer

"Wow! That's right," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required" answered Jean-Pierre. "You showed up here even though nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew and to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much smarter you are than me, and you know diddly squat about farming ... this is a herd of cows you cretin!"

"Now give me back my damn dog!"


Nice one Ray like it alot:)


Nice one ! :-)

local food.

IWV. Good story although I have to admit that the first time I heard that one, the tears rolled down my bib!

Island Wide voting

Sorry local food.It was the best I could come up with having to translate it from my Grandpas's handwiting in Guernsey French and all


Rich horsey crowed??? Anyone popped down the Marina lately? Theres plenty of far more expensive hobbies on show there!

Rules are rules and obviously they must be followed, but I note the eagerness for some to jump on the anti equestrian bandwagon, gosh who would have thought a bunch of people engaging in an environmentally friendly hobby that gets them out in the fresh air & doing some exercise could make them such villans of the community! Must immediately trade the pony in for an xbox!

local food.

Shurgar. For the record, I am not anti equestrian. In fact I am a keen rider and really like horses. I like to see them around but recognise that sadly their popularity is causing some unintended consequences that I think need to be acknowledged.

Faarmers Wife

I too have horses of my own and am not anti equestrian in any way shape or form. Equestrianism is what bought my husband and I together.

We however keep our horses in a respectful way to the land. They are not turned out everyday of the year on to soaking wet land, neither do they over graze the land they use. We have a woodchip area that they use for turnout when the fields can't be used and they don't go into a field until there is sufficient grass to graze, this is then rested so that the land can refresh itself. We fertlize the land and take great care of it. It rewards us with a crop of silage for our cows and a crop of hay for our horses.

Unfortuneatly there is an attitude amongst the equestrian community that the land is second to everything else, when will they wake up and realise that the land is the first thing you take care of and then your horse or pony will have all it needs.

Horse lover

Faaaarmers wife, You make some valid points but it is unfair to condemn all horse owners, apart from yourself, as regarding the land as secondary to all else.

My horses are kept on (expensive) rented land. In order to ensure adequate grazing and a little hay for winter forage and to comply with the terms of my lease, I too practice good pasture management. Not an easy thing to do on a budget and when, for medical reasons, one of the horses has to live outdoors all year. It must be nice for you to have a woodchipped area for your horses. My landlord, and possibly the planners (?) would not permit this.

Farmers Wife

I am so gald to hear that you take care of your land. Shame that your landlord won't allow a sacrifice paddock You don't need permission to place woodchips (or sand) on an area of field as long as there is no hardcore or permanent fencing involved. However we do have permission for ours. Thanks for asking.


environmentally friendly? What about them crapping on the roads and not clearing up?!!!


Forget the equine community- what long term benefit is generated by show jumping events ? Though it may impact favourably upon the participants' psychological well being be keeping them occupied and therefore content, on this occasion, it may potentially be a hindrance to the future welfare of the remainder of the community by not allowing land to be cultivated for crops. However, I believe that their manure ought to be used as a fertiliser for the crops.

The only enjoyable aspect of the show jumping events is buying a juicy hotdog or bacon baguette, anyway !



All through this you seem to have missed the point that the owners of the land are the ones wanting the change and have no intention of lowering food imports through home growing, however admirable this concept is.

So the choice is showjumping or unused field. Not show jumping and wheat production.

Judging by Environment's track record this will go something like this:

Owner: We want to apply for this

Env: No permission declined

Owner: I appeal

Planning appeal: No

Owner: ok i will apply again changing 1 small thing

Env: Ok but no, permission declined

Owner: I appeal

Planning appeal: No

Owner: ok i will apply again changing 1 small thing

And on and on and on (See airport hanger's 7 applications)



Yes, I see what you mean-where else could a crop cultivation programme be pursued ?



Well in the absence of landowners who want to pursue this activity or rent their land out for it you would need some sort of law change that forced people to make their unused land available for use. Or have some form of States purchase program (compulsory or otherwise) that would then rent the land back to those willing to work it.

There is little chance of the States approving that course of action unless of course they already have a decent amount in their possession that could be used.

Either that or a significant subsidy that incentivises people to want to do this instead of horses etc.

In the end it will come down to money and the immediate need to do it. It is easier and cheaper to import currently so in the absence of some cataclismic event affecting current supplies things will no doubt stay as they are.

Yes it is not good long term planning but people dont want to spend millions now for a benefit they cannot really see is necessary.


With an ever increasing population into this small island agriculture is vital for fresh dairy products.More consideration should be encouraging farmers to produce home grown vegetation and meat products also.

States of Guernsey grants for farmers to be encouraged to become our local producers for vegetables,meat,and more breeding exports for our Guernsey Cow.

Land leased to farmers as top priority for the wellbeing of our island.

Agriculture 4/9 on

Horse jumping 100/1 outsider


Shame on you Ed. All your talk about increasing food production and you support inefficient meat eating.

Oh Dear

Looking at the state of that "field" they may as well let them do it.

How much aggravation have horse lovers caused this island in recent years? If you want a horse get a large enough garden that can contain it.

Fields etc. Should be left in their natural state or sold for agriculture.

The seem to be a very selfish group of people with little or no respect for the aesthetic views created by natural grass land.

Can you imagine how it would be if everybody had such and expensive and damaging hobby!

Horse lover

To all the anti-equestrian posters on here (including but not restricted to the post by oh dear above) who seem to want to deny the lovers of horses and ponies the right to enjoy their hobby and their animals, take a look out in your driveway, or the space where your front garden used to be before you got permission to knock your front wall down and tarmac it over. I think most of you will find you have an expensive and very damaging hobby too.

Maybe you don't have a private parking space? Maybe your tin box is cluttering up the street instead. Either way, vast acres of Guernsey lie under tarmac to cater for your selfish tin box ownership.

How much of your nasty attitude to horse owners is driven by envy? the word "rich" crops up in quite a few posts. As pointed out by Sarnia above, not all of us are minted. some of us drive a very old and battered tin box, never take a holiday and rarely, if ever spend money on personal luxuries in order to afford our horses and ensure their welfare.

Whatever your opinion of the planning decision, for crying out loud, live and let live and stop the knocking of those who enjoy something different to you.

Oh Dear

I don't drive horse lover.

I don't think my attitude is nasty I'm merely portraying my opinion on a topical site in which many people including yourself voice their opinion. It's what makes the world so rich. If everyone agreed, would life not be boring?

Of all of the hobbies I have none of them are damaging to the environment.

Also just to point out, for the majority of people cars are NOT a hobby, they're a necessity.

Horse lover

You're right that the world would be boring if we all liked the same thing. I think you'll find that my earlier post recognises this and asks for a little less animosity and a bit of give and take. Much as I dislike the number and size of vehicles on our roads, I recognise people's right to own and use them. Well done Oh dear for not driving. I'm sure you are in the minority here.

I disagree with you that for most people a car is a necessity. For many it's a convenience but far from necessary. It makes life easier for some and therefore makes their life more enjoyable. For some it's a part of their lifestyle that they would find it hard to do without. Maybe hobby isn't the right word but it's close enough.

The point is that, contrary to your post above, most aspects of horse husbandry and use are not damaging, aestetically or environmentally, and in some cases the land is actually improved.

Finally,"Natural Grassland" does not exist in Guernsey. The rural landscape is man-made by the uses it has been put to over the centuries. If allowed to be "natural" it would rapidly return to scrub and brambles. Grazing of animals, be they cattle, horses, sheep or llamas helps to preserve the green and pleasant views we are all fond of.

Oh Dear

What my post was supposed to say is that the car is a necessity to people. In other words those that drive believe it to be a necessity.

I still think hobby is far from the reason that most people own a car. Convenience sounds closer to the mark.

In terms of the article, what they've done is damaging. It's no longer a workable field. If we ever had to fend for ourselves on this island, there is no way we could support 60,000+ people. I think it's important that we should be able to feed our populace. Fields should be used for grazing animals (for food) and growing crops.

You're right in that there isn't any natural grassland left on this island. But a field looks a lot better than the mess in the photograph at the top of this page.

When I mentioned a damaging hobby, I meant with regards to the photo.

Having horses that graze on the grass and excrete a natural fertilizer is good. The hobby I was referring to is damaging to the environment.


And how many enormous gass guzzling 'tin boxes' do you possess to ferry your animals around in, HL...?


Oh Dear - just to point out, that 'muddy field' is actually an all weather sand school, not a field.

Oh Dear

I'm aware of what it is, the point is, it already looks a mess. It's already been spoilt by its relatively new purpose.


Help to farm the land.get horses out of stables and on the land to work like days gone by.

Horse lover

Wouldn't that be a lovely thing to see? So much better for the environment than tractors too. Trouble is, it wouldn't be a very economical way of producing crops and cheap food is taken for granted these days.

I'm not sure the showjumpers at BSJA would be up to pulling a plough either :)


I've got it..... How about training cows to show jump! 2birds one stone! alternatively how about investigating in a bovine x equine hybrid breeding programme you could name the breed mooonys!

Before the backlash starts coming this way- somebody has to lighten the mood!

Horse lover

"somebody has to lighten the mood!"

.....and you proved to be the cattle-ist! :-)


Looks like someone's already beaten you to it Shurgar! ;)