Could Essex have a new equestrian centre?

  • Plans for a new equestrian centre in Essex have been put forward to Basildon Council.

    The application for the site at Whites Farm in Barleylands Road, Basildon, was submitted on 9 July and a decision is due by mid-October.

    It was put forward by Ian Lewington, the business owner of soon to close Longwood Equestrian Centre.

    Longwood EC in Dry Street, Basildon, has to be vacated by the end of next month to make way for a major new development.

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    Shows and livery services closed at Longwood EC earlier this year and currently just the British Horse Society (BHS) approved riding school remains in operation.

    This, along with the riding school horses, will move to a temporary base on the new site at the end of September, allowing lessons and education courses to continue.

    There has been a long-running campaign against the forced closure of the centre by its supporters.

    The development that will be built over Longwood includes more than 700 homes, a primary school, shops and green spaces.

    The outline plans for this major development were approved in June 2013, but campaigners have continued to call for Longwood to be saved.

    Plans for the first part of the development – which include the Longwood site – were submitted in June this year.

    An indoor and outdoor arena, 44 stables, parking and grazing are included in the designs for the new centre.

    If it goes ahead, it will also have space for offices, a viewing area and a café.

    Mr Lewington said if approval is given, they will run all the services previously offered at Longwood EC.

    These include a riding school, livery, competitions and educational training courses.

    He told H&H he hopes to also run affiliated dressage and showjumping, as well as “bread and butter” unaffiliated events.

    “We have about six to eight weeks to wait until the decision,” said Mr Lewington.

    “I am hoping it should be positive as it is something the local authority want.”

    Mr Lewington added the feedback to the proposals has been “very positive” so far.

    “I have had a lot of local support,” he said.

    “It will be an asset to the local community and the equine world in general.”

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