Local residents of a village in south Yorkshire are at loggerheads with a riding club over a planning decision to allow the club to use greenbelt land next to their homes.

Maltby and District riding club, which has existed for over 60 years, had to relocate two miles away from its long-term location to a field in the village of Tickhill.

Despite council approval, they met fierce opposition from residents.

Chairman Louise Elliot said the battle with residents was both petty and wearing for the riders.

“We had to move because the previous landowner expanded his livery business and wanted his field. The council said we could use the new site for 28 days a year, and we are well within this,” she said.

“But residents complained to the council about jumps in the field and having horses and 4x4s in their village. We were forced to get planning permission, which was granted this July.

“But they continue to campaign, harass visitors and divert traffic away from our events.”

Doncaster council planning committee stated in July: “The proposal is not considered to significantly impact on the greenbelt or the neighbouring dwellings” — and has declined to comment further.

But resident Frank Firth, 71, was unrepentant: “The number of lorries, 4x4s and trailers is very disruptive to locals and the environment. This week, they had 195 vehicles on the field with 632 vehicle movements.

“We’re not objecting to the club — the fact they want to take up sport is creditable. The problem is traffic.”

Ms Elliott added: “We’ve got absolutely no intention of moving.”

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (10 September, ’09)