Thursday, 24 January 2019

Polo complex expansion rejected

Wokingham Borough Council

A BILLIONAIRE’S plans to expand a polo complex on his estate in Remenham have been refused planning permission.

Andrey Borodin wanted to build a new stable block on the Park Place estate following the demolition of existing outbuildings.

The estate is home to his Park Place polo team, a “top level” side which made the finals of two national tournaments this year.

Representatives of the wealthy Russian exile said the development would allow horses, players and grooms to spend more time on the site, helping them to concentrate on training and playing.

But Wokingham Borough Council, the planning authority, said it would harm “the openness of the designated green belt”.

In a decision notice, it said: “It has not been demonstrated that the proposal would constitute an appropriate facility for the existing use and no very special circumstances have been demonstrated to outweigh such harm.

“The proposed development, by virtue of its scale and massing and potential intensification of use, would result in harm to the significance of a Grade II listed park and gardens. No public benefits have been presented to outweigh such harm.”

The plans had been opposed by neighbours, who said that expanding the site would be to the detriment of locals and would attract more visitors, in contravention of the planning permission.

Mark Phillips, who lives in Dairy Lane on the Park Place Estate, said his own plans to enlarge his home had been deemed unsuitable in the green belt and the same should apply to a “professional sporting facility”.

Mr Phillips, a barrister, claimed that competitive polo matches would attract about 100 supporters while visiting teams would need transport for horses, grooms and support teams and it was “unclear” where these vehicles would be parked on match days.

Other residents said they already have to put up with noise pollution, smells and horseflies from the site and worried that these problems would become worse.

A separate application for an accommodation block for grooms on the site was refused last month.

The new stables would have allowed the estate to accommodate 76 ponies, a typical roster for a high-level polo team. The 52-acre estate already has a stable block which houses 40 horses, along with tack and feed rooms, after being extended last year.

There are 35 other horses in an adjacent stable block and around 15 grooms who work during the polo season, which runs from March to September.

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