Riders in Wales are protesting after plans to turn a field into a wedding venue were revealed last month.
One livery yard owner has told H&H she will be forced to close if the plans go ahead.
Elaine Robinson, who runs Garland Liveries in the Welsh village of Llancarfan, said she had no idea the 6.9acre field she sold to Amber Nichols five years ago would be used for weddings.
Mrs Robinson, 65, said she first realised the new owners had other plans for the field, Bluebell Meadows, when she received a letter through the post on 1 February 2014 addressed to Garlands Events.
The letter contained a booking form for a camping weekend for a wedding.
“My main concern is not only the increased traffic in the village but the affect these events will have on my animals. My clients have said if it goes ahead they will move. It will finish me,” said Mrs Robinson, who bought the yard 16 years ago.
“We are trying to get the local council to stop it and say Mrs Nichols needs to obtain change of use planning permission because the field has only ever been used for equestrian activities.”
Mrs Nichols told H&H that she bought the field as an investment and had been told it could be used for non-equestrian events. She said villagers’ fears that the field will be used for music festivals are “ridiculous.”
“We’re not planning to hold mini Glastonburys. I don’t want to upset anyone and will be holding a meeting in the village hall on 12 March to calm any anxious neighbours,” she said. “People just don’t like change.”
Under the current law she does not need a licence to hold a private wedding on the site.
The first event at Bluebell Meadows is a wedding festival fayre on 19 April, which is a ticketed event limited to 500 people.
But the villagers are determined to fight the plans and last week (27 February) launched a petition urging the Welsh Assembly to amend the planning bill to exclude commercial enterprises from the 28-day rule.
“This issue affects the whole of Wales. Your neighbourhood could be next to fall victim to such land use under the guise of permitted development,” said the petition’s author Andrew Campbell.
He lives opposite the field with his wife Hanna, an equine solicitor. “The whole village is opposed to the plans. The increase in traffic means we won’t be able to take our horses out at weekends,” she said.
“We want the planning laws changed so others don’t have to go through a similar situation.”
Link to the Bluebell Meadows petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/669/