The go ahead to build a new equestrian centre in Essex has been granted by councillors.

Longwood Equestrian Centre was forced to move from its home in Dry Street, Basildon, earlier this year to make way for a major new housing development.

Livery services ceased at the beginning of this year and the last show was held in April.

The riding school first moved to its new site at Whites Farm in Barleylands Road, Billericay, on a temporary basis on 20 September and lessons are continuing as normal.

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The application to develop the site into a permanent equestrian centre was approved by Basildon councillors at a meeting on 3 November.

Leaseholder Ian Lewington told H&H that he was feeling “very positive”.

“It is obviously very good news,” he said.

“Now we are just finalising when we can start building.”

He added that will mainly depend on the weather.

The approved development includes plans for 44 stables with an indoor and outdoor arena, parking, a café, 40 acres of grazing and a 5km hacking route.

“The support has been overwhelming,” Mr Lewington added.

“We will be running all the shows that we used to and hopefully more.”

Mr Lewington told H&H in August that he hopes to start hosting affiliated showjumping and dressage competitions as well as the “bread and butter” unaffiliated events.

He also plans to run services previously offered at their former site, including livery and educational training course.

There has been a long-running campaign to save Longwood Equestrian Centre from developers.

The outline plans for the major development at Dry Street were approved in June 2013 and proposals for the first stage of the project were accepted in September.

A total of 725 new homes are planned for Dry Street as part of the regeneration of Basildon.

Cllr Richard Moore, cabinet member for regeneration and planning, said: “We have always said our priority is to generate a stronger local economy through regeneration and building business opportunities and jobs for local people.

“This is another step towards making that vision a reality.”

He added the regeneration with bring “£40million of investment” to the area.