The owner of Oldencraig is looking to reassure riders that his planning application to demolish the facilities and build nine houses is part of a plan to create a bigger and better equestrian centre.
Tandridge District Council granted the Surrey venue, which boasts “six-star” facilities and hosts a number of affiliated and unaffiliated dressage shows, permission to knock down the existing centre and build the nine dwellings.
Riders have reacted with disappointment online, but Oldencraig owner and director Ian Winfield wanted to quash the rumours.
“The plan is to revamp what we’ve got and make it better,” he told H&H.
“I think people got confused as they’re building 5,000 houses round the corner, in Blindley Heath, and everyone thought it was me building them.
“The rumours have been flying around but I haven’t sold it for £8.5m, as people have been saying, and I’m not building 5,000 houses.”
Mr Winfield said his plan is to replace his existing staff accommodation with the better-quality dwellings, move and extend the existing 20x60m indoor arena and create an outdoor arena equivalent to five 20x60m arenas.
This would allow Oldencraig to run showjumping competitions all year round, as well as providing better facilities for dressage, he said.
“I want to double the size of the indoor school,” Mr Winfield added.
“You’ll come down the drive and there will be a big car park, then the whole big field [at the back] will be one huge arena to be used for showjumping, or five 20x60m arenas.
“At the moment, I can’t run any bigger shows that I do because of my facilities. You can’t ride around the indoor school before you do your test; you ride in the warm-up, then you come into the arena.
“But a bigger one will allow lots of things. You could walk round it first, or run two classes; it will be massive, for showjumping, or I can run both at once.”
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Mr Winfield said the number of stables will stay the same, that one of the replacement buildings will host the tack shop and offices, and that he will submit a separate planning application for the new equestrian facilities.
“It’s a long-term plan,” he added. “The only trouble is, these things take a long time. But I haven’t got £8.5m in the bank and I’m not building all those houses. I’d be a rich man if I was!”
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