A FARM may be ordered to remove stables, an office, and a caravan park after they were constructed on green belt land without planning permission.
The owners of Whitehall Farm and its equestrian centre in Whitehall Lane, Fobbing, have had a retrospective application for the buildings which also include a barn and a visitors car park refused by Thurrock planning officers.
The 11 stables have been built into the earth, having been cut into the higher land to the south of the farm yard so that only the roof is visible from neighbouring fields.
The farm is deemed to have a capacity for 26 stables but with 50 stables already present, another 11 “would be well in excess of the limitations” according to an officer’s report, which added they should be “deemed to constitute inappropriate development in the green belt.”
A letter supporting the application from Dovetail Architects Limited said: “The reason for the addition of these stables is to provide more and better accommodation for the horses on the farm. The stables are dug into the ground so the roof is at the level of the fields behind.
“This reduces the visual impact of the new structure, which is barely visible from the fields and surroundings so doesn’t have any impact on the openness of the greenbelt. New stables are ancillary to the existing equestrian use which has been in place for well in excess of ten years.”
However, the report concluded: “It has not been demonstrated that the development represents an appropriate facility for outdoor sport or recreation having regard to the criteria for equestrian buildings that are set out within the Thurrock Local Development Framework Core Strategy. The development therefore represents inappropriate development in the Green Belt that is, by definition, harmful to the Green Belt.”
An application to retain paddock was granted planning permission after the owners were able to demonstrate it had been in operation for more than ten years and therefore no longer requiring permission.
An office, caravan park and visitor car park were refused however, as it was not sufficiently proven by the applicant that they too had been used for more than ten years for the same purpose.
A barn, which contains an office used by an insurance company, was also refused because it is on green belt.