Rent hike forces Devon showjumping club to move

  • “Impossible differences” have ended 35 years of affiliated competitions, run by a Devon showjumping club at a popular venue.

    South Western Show Jumping Club (SWSJC) is moving after three years of wrangling with Clinton Devon Estates (CDE), the owners of Bicton Arena in Budleigh Salterton, East Devon.

    SWSJC vice-chairman Bob Livock said: “The rent they want is impossible without putting stabling and entry charges to our members up, which we cannot do.”

    CDE has increased the annual rent paid by SWSJC to use the facilities from £26,000 in 2008 to £53,950 for 2011.

    “We have the option on one venue and will know more next week,” said Mr Livock. “It’s really sad that we have to leave Bicton, but they have priced themselves out of the market.”

    SWSJC is a not-for-profit riding club, with 1,000 members across the UK.

    It runs four affiliated jumping shows a year at Bicton and, with the owners, has steadily improved the facilities there.

    BS regional rep Julian Trim stepped in to mediate between the warring parties in March, when the club refused to pay the £45,700 demanded for the year.

    He smoothed over relations and says it is sad negotiations have now broken down.

    “Bicton has great facilities and we are keen to see BS competitions continue there. We hope SWSJC will succeed at a new venue,” he said.

    SWSJC’s four BS show dates will move to its new venue and BS Devon rep John Tuff said it could actually prove better for local riders.

    He said: “We have very few venues in Devon, so if both venues run BS classes, we have another place to compete.”

    Emma Vine, manager of Bicton Arena, said eventing and dressage competitions at the centre were unaffected.

    The venue returned to the British Eventing schedule on 28 August, after a three-year absence, with a new cross-country course, built in 2009.

    “Affiliated and unaffiliated showjumping will continue at Bicton,” added Ms Vine.

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound (28 October, ’10)

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