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Plans submitted for new equestrian centre as part of major development

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: July 18, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

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Plans have been submitted for the creation of a equestrian centre on land which forms part of a redevelopment scheme.

In 2011 Laver Leisure purchased the former Moneystone quarry near Whiston from Sibelco following the ending of quarrying operations.

The property also includes an adjacent farm know as Crow Trees Farm, which is presently used by tenants as a bed and breakfast venue.

Now Lavers has submitted a planning application for the 59-acre site to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council for the demolition of the existing barn and the erection of two replacement stable buildings, which would include two tack rooms, a grooming room and a stable yard.

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The change of use would involve the farmhouse and bed and breakfast becoming an office for the administration of the equestrian centre; a B&B chalet would become an ancillary office; and a covered silo pit would be a tack room

The outbuildings and a garage would be ancillary to the equestrian centre.

The business would have 19 car parking spaces and an area for manoeuvring horse boxes and trailers.

A planning statement submitted on behalf of the applicant by How Planning of Manchester said: "The proposed equestrian centre will offer the hire of horses between 7am and 7pm, seven days a week. No livery will be offered.

"Riders will be able to hack on local bridleways and within the paddocks.

"The new stable buildings have been designed to accommodate 13 horses.

"No events, shows or competitions will be held at the equestrian centre and no menage is proposed."

The application was submitted just days before Lavers held a public consultation event at Whiston Village Hall yesterday, Tuesday, outlining plans for a leisure development at the former quarry site.

The proposed leisure development will still provide a range of facilities that would be open to the local community, including cycling, climbing and other sports, a network of nature trails, bridleways and footpaths.

There will also be a number of holiday lodges to enable overnight and longer stays.

However, following community feedback the plans have been scaled back and some elements have been removed.

In line with the Churnet Valley Masterplan, Laver Leisure is now proposing 250 holiday lodges instead of 650, and is no longer proposing any new houses or space for touring caravans.

Proposals to build a solar farm on part of the former quarry also went on public display last month.

The Solar Building Company Limited, based in Monmouth, outlined its plans to build the farm at the site which would extend to 13 hectares (32 acres).

It would generate enough energy to power the equivalent of around 1,824 homes.

The fate of the quarry, which was owned by Sibelco UK and had been operational for more than 50 years, was sealed in August 2007 after expansion plans were thrown out.

Silica sand extraction at the site, which covers 420 acres, came to end in 2010 and the premises closed in 2011 with the loss of 70 jobs.

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