The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) plans to invest £250,000 in a new training and rehabilitation centre in south-east London, in a bid to create an enduring physical legacy from the otherwise “pop-up” 2012 Olympic equestrian events.
The BEF received £750,000 from Sport England in 2009 to spend on legacy projects — with £250,000 for this centre, £250,000 for the Ebony Horse Club in Brixton’s new riding centre and the rest to fund smaller Hoof projects.
David Gadsby of the BEF’s Olympic legacy project, Hoof, said that if granted planning permission the new centre will cost around £1.6m.
“Hadlow College will provide the expertise while Greenwich Council and the BEF will create the hard facilities,” he said.
Greenwich Council has applied to build on council-owned land at Shooters Hill on the Greenwich and Bexley borough borders.
Permission is sought for an indoor and outdoor arena, horsewalker and 20 stables.
It would be run by Hadlow College, based in Tonbridge, and open to students in September 2012, offering equestrian training from BHS stages to degree courses.
“It will be 95 per cent equestrian use,” added Mr Gadsby. “People can get their first experience of riding, then follow that up as a career.”
The College was unable to comment on the plans.
The project is joint-funded by Hadlow College, Greenwich Council, the Olympic Development Authority, 2012 organisers LOCOG, the London Mayor’s Fund and the £250,000 grant from the BEF.
Cllr Chris Roberts, leader of Greenwich Council, said: “This will introduce thousands of London children to the thrill of horse riding and provide future educational opportunities.”
The site was used as a horsebox park, or equestrian staging post, during the equestrian test event and is likely to be used in a similar way for the Games.
A LOCOG spokesman said: “It will be a brilliant facility.”
This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (18 August, 2011)