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Plans for equestrian business on farm land in Preston St Mary, near Lavenham, rejected





Plans for a new horse rearing business in a Suffolk village have have been refused, after planners agreed with local objectors that the development was inappropriate for the area.

Babergh District Council has formally rejected a change-of-use application, to convert agricultural land to the west of The Street in Preston St Mary for equestrian use.

Applicant Sally Johnson, of Linkswood Stud in Halstead, had sought permission redevelop the site with a stable block, manège, horse walker and temporary rural worker's accommodation.

Babergh District Council has formally rejected a change-of-use application, to convert agricultural land to the west of The Street in Preston St Mary for equestrian use. Stock image
Babergh District Council has formally rejected a change-of-use application, to convert agricultural land to the west of The Street in Preston St Mary for equestrian use. Stock image

A planning statement on behalf of Ms Johnson explained the facilities would have cared for mares and foals, with various clients reportedly lined up.

It further claimed its projections forecast a viable business with a “significant income stream”.

However, objections from both Preston St Mary Parish Council and local residents argued that the proposal would build over designated arable land, in conflict with the Neighbourhood Plan.

Concerns were also raised about the development being excessive and out-of-character for the village, as well as the lack of demonstrated need locally for an equestrian business such as this.

In a report to Babergh District Council’s planning committee, case officer Rose Wolton echoed these sentiments, in recommending the application be turned down.

“The enterprise is new and has not been established for the three years required,” the report reads.

“Some information regarding the business plan has been provided – however, this is insufficient to fully determine the enterprise’s viability for the foreseeable future.

“There are no existing buildings or structures on site. The proposed buildings introduce new large structures into the open countryside landscape, which is considered to harm its intrinsic character.

“The cumulative impact of the cluster of buildings on the site is not considered to be appropriate, nor harmonious to the location and the surroundings.”