The British Horse Society (BHS) has been granted planning permission for a new £3million headquarters to be built on the site of its present building by the end of summer 2010.
But plans to put the entire British horse industry under one roof, by moving all the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) member bodies into the new building (news, 6 September 2007), have been shelved.
BHS chief executive Graham Cory told H&H: “We decided we needed a new building a while ago, but other bodies have made their own arrangements.
“It’s a big building and the space we don’t need will be available for anyone to rent.”
Described by Mr Cory as “well past its sell-by date”, the present BHS headquarters was built in 1962 as portable buildings on a military camp. The BHS moved there in 1997.
The new building will be a single-storey “squashed doughnut” shape, built around a courtyard housing a 200-year-old oak tree.
Work is planned to start in June or July this year.
The building will be funded from BHS cash reserves, which Mr Cory says are currently returning £80,000 a year less because of low interest rates.
The BHS is based at Stoneleigh Deer Park in Warwickshire, whereas the BEF and many of its bodies are a mile away on the Royal Agricultural Society of England site at Stoneleigh Park.
A BEF spokesman said: “We have a lease in our current building until 2017. We are looking at a variety of different options and it will be a decision for our member bodies to make.”
Warwick District Council approved the planning application on 12 March, describing the new building design as “bold”.
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (9 April, ’09)