Riders must wait until January to learn the fate of Boomerang Stables’s cross-country training course.

Last year the stables, near Hungerford, Berkshire, lost a second application for retrospective planning permission after being told four permanent fences alter the landscape in an area of natural beauty and must be removed.

The venue also learned it has no public access rights. Local residents complained the centre had resulted in unacceptable levels of traffic.

Australian former international event rider Russ Hardy bought the venue in 2000. He now has to prove the premises have been in commercial use for more than 10 years and the fences in place more than four years.

A public inquiry started on 28 October 2009 but was adjourned until 19 January 2010.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Council said: “We are satisfied we applied correct planning procedure when serving an enforcement notice.”

The centre — which has been used by top event riders Pippa Funnell and William Fox-Pitt — has a 40-acre cross-country course with water complex, banks and a sunken road.

It also has a 60x20m indoor arena and two 70x30m outdoor schools.

Earlier this year (news, 16 April 2009) Mr Hardy told us he was “quietly confident” of success in his appeal.

Supporters have mounted a 4,000-name petition.

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (17 December, ’09)