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Planning wrangle at a Foxt equestrian centre is set to be approved

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 13, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

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AN EQUESTRIAN centre which brings wealthy Middle East businessmen to the Moorlands is set to see the end of a 10-year planning saga.

Provence Equestrian, based in Foxt has built, with planning approval, an equestrian centre on land east of New Cottages.

The owners, Pam and Patrick Stimpson, wanted to build a large bungalow next to the stable to manage the businesses and for additional security for the Arab horses they breed.

However, they have over the years been refused planning permission by the district council and had an appeal turned down by the planning inspectorate.

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They were successful in an application for a two storey house, but it was not big enough.

Now plans for a larger house to meet their demands are to go before the Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's planning applications committee with a recommendation of approval.

In report to councillors planning officer Wayne Johnson said: "It was recognised by the inspector that the applicant currently operates from the family home in the village and that the business is established and successful in the breeding of these valuable horses.

"As part of the previous appeal, the inspector also visited the stable and storage building next to the application site and acknowledged that in the absence of any permanent presence on the site, the stables are not currently used for accommodating the horses due to security issues.

"The inspector was in no doubt that the creation of a dwelling with ancillary facilities on the appeal site would overcome this constraint and enable the company to increase the number of horses that could be bred and stabled."

Mr Johnson added: "The majority of the company's clients are based in Middle East countries. These customers have a particular interest in this breed of horse and as a consequence, a large percentage of the horses bred by Provence Equestrian are exported.

"Due to the client base, there is a requirement for the applicant to provide a specialised business culture based on traditions and familial relationships that are expected by their customers, which are common place between clients and their suppliers in the Middle East. These clients are wealthy and expect a certain level of accommodation when visiting the United Kingdom. Currently the clients stay in London hotels and are collected and brought up by car to Foxt.

"The provision of the proposed facilities at the site would enable the applicant to provide overnight accommodation at the appeal site with the company owners.

"This would also allow the customers to visit more businesses in the area, especially those associated with this industry, such as trailer makers. Currently, due to time constraints the business opportunities are limited."

The proposal would also create two or three part-time additional jobs, and enable the applicant to provide out-placement training for overseas personnel in the husbandry of the breed.

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