Monday, 20 January 2020

Villagers oppose equestrian course

PLANS to build an equestrian cross-country course on farmland near Woodcote have been opposed by villagers.

The Hildred Partnership, a family-owned farm business based in Wallingford, wants to convert an 11-hectare field between Tidmore Lane and Oxford Road north of the village.

There would be up to 100 movable jumps and a permanent water obstacle plus a small patch of hard-standing with 16 parking places.

A portable cabin with welfare facilities would be used between February and October only and would have security lights.

The partnership says it needs to diversify due to problems in the farming industry and the centre would provide a sustainable income as well as offering job opportunities.

Four villagers asked for permission to be refused or the plans to be amended.

Susan Sandford, of South Stoke Road, said the security lights would harm wildlife through light pollution and that farmland should be retained as it would be needed when Britain left the EU.

Gillian Walker and John Bowen, of Oxford Road, said horses shouldn’t be allowed to jump near two homes on the field’s south-western boundary and more trees and hedges should be planted to screen the course.

Elizabeth Atkinson, of Cleeve Road, Goring, was among people who argued the course would be a valuable resource for local riders as the nearest equivalent is up to two hours’ drive away.

Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, said the proposed access off Oxford Road was “substandard” due to the poor visibility given that the site would be accessed by lorries with animals on board.

It would also be near the junction with the busy A4074 from which drivers often turned off at high speed.

Woodcote Parish Council also objected but the Chilterns Conservation Board said the scheme would conserve the site’s appearance.

South Oxfordshire District Council is due to decide the application this month.

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