A Derbyshire riding school fears its future will be jeopardised if a quarry reopens next door to its outdoor arena.

Alton Riding School, near Chesterfield, is home to 50 horses, teaches more than 100 customers a week and employs six instructors and various NVQ students.

It has been running for 45 years, but if Derbyshire County Council gives the green light to reopening the quarry, the riding school will be forced to close.

Owner Jenny Butler said: “There is little doubt we will have to shut down due to safety fears.

“The quarry is hidden from sight, but the loud noises coming from the site, including, we anticipate, stone boulders being dropped into metal trailers, will be enough to constantly spook our horses.

“We have petitions circulating in the area and in less than a week have 200 signatures.”

A local firm proposes to extract 78,000 tonnes of building stone from the quarry over 10 years. The 0.7-hectare quarry sits within the 1.7-hectare plot bordering the stables land.

In a concession to the nearby residential areas, the application proposes that the extraction machinery will be used for a maximum of five hours a day from Monday to Friday.

The director of the firm, Derbyshire NSF Ltd, said: “We will not be blasting and will be taking stone out about 200 yards away from the stables, behind a 50-metre wall of earth. There will be little extra noise.”

He added that estimated noise levels would be five decibels below the government standard.

But the British Horse Society has written to the council supporting the riding school’s objections.

The council is due to decide whether the application can go ahead in late September.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (25 August, 2011)