A disused pub in Essex will have a rather different clientele when it is transformed into an equestrian centre.

Local millionaire David Bishop, 62, plans to build a new riding centre on land behind the derelict Wheatsheaf in Rettendon.

Mr Bishop was granted planning permission on Tuesday 2 April after a two-year battle.

Plans had been refused in June 2012, as councillors were concerned about increased traffic and the affects on the character of the area.

“Thank god it’s through now,” Mr Bishop told the Essex Chronicle. “Let’s get on and build it.”

He intends to spend a reported £500,000 on the development, which will include a restaurant, post office and shops.

“If I’m going to live in a community, I need to give something back to make it a better place,” Mr Bishop said after buying the pub for £400,000 in 2011.

“The idea with the equestrian centre is to create safe riding facilities, so horse riders do not have to venture out onto the dangerous roads.”

Rider safety is a topic Mr Bishop feels strongly about, as his daughter Katie-Jayne was hit by a lorry while out hacking at the age of 16.

She escaped with pelvic injuries, but her horse was killed.

Picture credit: ©2005 The Probert Encyclopaedia. Image used under license