Horse charity may lose £100k legacy over arena refusal

A charity which offers horse riding for disabled children in Surrey could lose £100,000 left to it in a will after plans for a covered arena were refused.

Godstone Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) was left the money on condition it was used for the building.

The charity spent two years drawing up plans for the facility at Tandridge Priory Riding Centre in Oxted.

But Tandridge District Council refused the application because it did not comply with rules for the green belt.

'Very strict'

Verity Jones, Godstone RDA chairman, said "We were given £100,000 specifically to provide us with a roof.

"We do understand the green belt issues but we have spent two years of consultation before admitting our application.

"It is quite big but it is sited well down in the valley and is virtually hidden unless you are on the property."

She added that they had received no objections and had the full support of neighbours and wildlife and environmental groups.

Piers Mason, chief planning officer at the council, said: "The rules in the green belt are very strict.

"It is a very large building, 60m by 24m, and it does not fit within any of the categories that would be considered to be deemed appropriate.

Appeal planned

He said the council could not see any guarantee that the building would be used primarily by the RDA or used by it long term.

However, he added that the council was still talking with the charity and putting its concerns to it.

The RDA said it would appeal against the decision.

If the money cannot be used for the covered arena it has to be returned to the executors of the will.

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