PLANS to build stables along with a shed and change the use of a five-acre piece of land for equestrian pursuits on the outskirts of Leek have been refused.
Members of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's planning applications committee voted last week to refuse the application at Thorncross Farm, Thorncliffe Road, Leek.
Councillors were informed that part of the site already had an enforcement notice on it and that the application was the fourth one put before them for the site. The previous three had all been refused.
Sue Howard, representing Tittesworth Parish Council, said members of the authority were unanimous in their concerns over the site.
She said "Gypsy Hollow is unspoilt and this would have a strong visual impact. Access is a narrow lane and is unsuitable for large horse boxes and lorries delivering winter feed.
"This is the fourth application and three have already been refused. The enforcement notice on the site has been ignored. The countryside is precious and this is a special site. If it is allowed more will follow."
Karen Barker, who was representing local residents, said the land had several items on it. She said: "This land was sold as a grazing paddock. It is now sub-divided. The cluttering of the site clearly demonstrates it is not controlled. It is having a damaging effect on a historical beauty spot. There are stables nearby if people want to have a hobby."
Applicant Sharon Robinson apologised to the committee for building without planning permission.
She said: "We have five acres and want to keep the hay dry. We have given up the idea of farming the land. We just want horses."
The applicant's agent, Ken Wainman, said: "The site is not in the green belt, Stables and ancillary buildings are allowed in special landscape areas. This is a smaller plan than before and the stables will only be seen from three places.
"There have only been two objections. Shelter is required and the land is well maintained."
Councillor Mike Worthington said: "It seems the field has been cut into sections. It is very untidy and an eyesore. There are poor quality buildings put up and part of the area has enforcement on it.
"Residents and the parish council have looked at it and oppose it at every opportunity."
Councillor Linda Malyon said the application could be looked at again when the enforcement action had been dealt with.
She said: "There are no problems with stables in the countryside, but there is still enforcement notice on part of the area. This is undermining what enforcement is about. It has got to be complied with."