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British Eventing (BE) has decided to put controversial moving plans on hold in a bid to conserve funds.

It announced its decision to move from a building it shares with the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) and other member bodies at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, at its AGM last October.

The organisation had planned to relocate to a former Barclay’s Bank building on the showground at Stoneleigh and, at the time, BE chairman Alexandra Fox told H&H: “We need more room. Our filing is in a portable building and we don’t have a meeting room.”

But the plans were openly criticised by some BE members and former chief executive Peter Durrant (news, 20 November 2008), who questioned the suitability and wisdom of BE moving away from other BEF member bodies.

At a British Eventing board meeting on 5 March members agreed to improve their office instead.

Mrs Fox told H&H: “The financial climate is incredibly different from when we first entered into negotiations with the Royal Agricultural Society of England [RASE] to move.

“We listened to everyone’s views — and those of our finance and business team — and have decided to be very cautious for the next couple of years.”

Another BE spokesman said a move was still their long-term plan and that they would like to stay as close as possible to the other equestrian disciplines.

Mr Durrant told H&H he was pleased British Eventing was no longer moving.

He said: “They have raised their headcount dramatically and employed some very expensive people — and I’m not sure the finances would have taken it.”

The BEF benefits from a cheaper than market rate rental on its present building, which belongs to the RASE.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (26 March, ’09)

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