Western rider David Deptford has secured planning permission for a major equestrian complex after his local council overruled planners.

Deptford will start work within months on a building to house a 100x200ft arena, stabling for 25 horses, offices and a cafeteria on a near-greenfield site on his farm in March in the Cambridgeshire fens.

“We applied to Fenland District Council for outline permission two years ago, then our plans changed after we outgrew what we had first applied for,” said Deptford. “Staff changes and bureaucracy at the council have meant the process
has taken a long time.

“Then the planning authority said no — we think it was worried that we’d build something, then flog it, rather than run it as a business. But thankfully the council disagreed, and said we could go ahead.”

Though it will mainly be used to expand the Western riding business Deptford runs with his wife, Sarah, the complex will also be available as a general show venue.

“The two-year delay has held up our business severely and we’re looking forward to starting work,” added David. “Western riding is growing fast, especially now that it’s a World Equestrian Games sport, and may soon join the Olympics. We wanted a purpose-built surface for reining, so we can train horses and hold shows.”

Deptford and his family breed, train and produce Quarter Horses, of which he keeps around 60 at the moment. They compete abroad as well as in the UK.

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (26 May 2005)


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