Fort Road riding centre decision at open meeting
CONTROVERSIAL plans to build an indoor horse riding facility and sand school at Fort Road have been supported by planners.
But people living nearby and the St Peter Port douzaine have raised concerns – there have been 25 letters of representation – and it will be for the politicians of the Development & Planning Authority to make the decision at an open planning meeting next week.
The Planning Service has recommended approval of the application by Mr and Mrs D. Farnon for Fort Road Farm, which would see outbuildings demolished, trees and a hedge removed and fencing and landscaping created.
The application also has the support of Education, Sport & Culture.
St Peter Port douzaine has also raised concerns about the application, including the loss of prime agricultural land, the mass, size and visual appearance of the main building and the safety of access and egress and the adverse impact on a transport priority route, particularly when events are being held.
It also raised questions about parking and the removal of waste.
‘Comments have not been all negative and several douzeniers supported the proposal with qualifications,’ said the douzaine in its comment.
‘They thought that it was a good amenity for the island, an asset in principle if the building was designed more appropriately, and a valuable enterprise.
‘It could be of benefit both to local organisations and attract tourism, though a different venue was suggested by some.’
The douzaine added that concerns had also been raised about the manner in which the site notice was placed on a lamp post next to the site, but in such a position that it was not easy to stop safely and read.
‘It draws into question whether a proper consultation period has been permitted for this proposal,’ it said.
Education Sport & Culture said there was a demand for the facility in the island, especially during the winter when conditions outdoor are often unsafe for riders.
‘While it is appreciated that you are required to consider the application in accordance with the relevant planning legislation, against the above background, and taking into account a previous resolution of the States encouraging the development of sporting facilities by the private sector (in preference to the public sector) where the cost of maintenance and management does not fall on the taxpayer, the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture wishes to express its support for this application which I hope your committee is able to look favourably upon.’
If approved, an indoor riding arena, of approximately 60m x 23m, will be built with stabling and ancillary accommodation, together with an all-weather sand school, of a similar size, and a new site entrance.
It is intended that the area would be suitable for other events such as cattle shows, dog shows and archery.
It also states that the financial viability is questionable and the project will be largely philanthropic.
The application was accompanied by a planning and design statement, giving an overview of the proposal, and included letters in support from Guernsey group of Riding for the Disabled Association, Guernsey Riding and Hunt Club, Guernsey Equestrian LBG and the Guernsey Sports Commission.
The building will include kitchen and toilet facilities, tiered seating, a viewing area, commentator’s box and a press room, storage areas, two day stables and a multi-purpose room.
There will be 11 parking spaces and the front part of the site would remain as rough cut grass, which would also provide temporary overflow parking.
The site is one of two fields on the western side of Fort Road, south of Croutes Havilland, and a short distance before the former Morley Chapel.
The open planning meeting will be held at in the Cambridge Room at Beau Sejour on Wednesday 23 May at 12.45pm for a 1pm start.