Sunday, 31 May 2020

Neighbours fail to stop equestrian course

PLANS for an equestrian cross-country course on farmland near Woodcote have been approved.

The Hildred Partnership, a family-owned farm business based in Wallingford, has been granted planning permission to convert an
11-hectare field between Tidmore Lane and Oxford Road, which has previously served as the Woodcote Rally site.

The facility will have between 80 and 100 jumps, which can be moved, and will meet British Eventing standards. There will be a permanent water obstacle with the appearance of a pond to ensure it fits with the surrounding landscape.

Nine neighbours objected, saying the development would not meet the statutory requirement to conserve or enhance views of the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it would affect two houses nearby.

They also said the farm could attempt to reclassify the land as brownfield before seeking permission to build houses.

Concern was also raised about the potential danger of the proposed access near the junction with the busy A4074.

Woodcote Parish Council also objected and said that if the plans were approved, then it should be for only five years in order to gauge the impact.

Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, was initially against the scheme but backed down after the Hildred Partnership agreed to improve visibility at the entrance.

The Chilterns Conservation Board said the development would conserve views of the AONB as long as it remained low key.

There were also 13 letters of support saying there was no similar facility in the area so it would reduce the number of journeys on roads surrounding the village.

South Oxfordshire District Council, the planning authority, said the two houses wouldn’t be affected as they are more than 70m from the water jump and on the other side of the road and the course wouldn’t use floodlights.

The partnership, which also runs the pick-your-own farm off Wallingford Road, Goring, says the scheme is needed to offset economic problems affecting the farming sector.

The course would be in use during the day from February to October and all sessions would be booked in advance with no “walk-up” admissions.

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