Horses and riders mount protest at City Hall against plans for 600 homes (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Horse lovers say plan for 600 homes in Fagley would put an end to their riding school
Buy this photo » Protesters outside City Hall
Campaigners rode into Bradford city centre on horseback to protest at a plan to sacrifice their riding school for housing.
Ten riders from Throstle Nest Riding School mounted up for the demonstration outside City Hall yesterday.
The riding school, which is also home to a Riding for the Disabled group, is on land near Fagley Quarry.
Earlier this month, the Marshall family submitted a planning application for 600 houses and a new “local centre” in a joint project between the family and Bradford Council.
But the riding school, which rents land from the family, says the plans would leave the school homeless.
Jeanette Wheeler, proprietor of the school, yesterday led the group from Fagley to Bradford to hand in 300 objections.
Mrs Wheeler, speaking from 15-hand horse Rio, said: “We are hoping they might change their mind or include a stipulation that they need to find us alternative premises.”
Gwenda Hatfield, 77, who goes to the riding school once a week, said: “I’m devastated. It would just leave a gap in my life.”
Mum Karen Kaur Hera, of Fagley Lane, said her twins Jasmine and Sachin, aged five, both went riding at the school. She said: “It has given them both confidence.”
Throstle Nest Riding for the Disabled group fundraiser Sarah Hamilton said every week they had visits from around 50 disabled adults and children, as well as school groups.
She said the school had only recently opened a new £100,000 arena.
He said: “We need to say there are just too many problems to say yes to it. It should be thrown out and there should be a complete re-think.”
Councillor Ann Wallace (Lib Dem, Eccleshill) said the riding school was Fagley’s “jewel in the crown”.
She said while there had to be some house-building on the brownfield areas of the site, she urged planners to say no to the current plan. She said: “Some houses have to be built but why do they have to go in the last little bit of green that we have got in the whole of the Eccleshill ward?”
The application is a joint project between the Marshalls and Bradford Council, which owns an area of the proposed development. The application said the houses were a response to Bradford’s “chronic housing shortage.”
Earlier this month, a Marshall spokesman said: “The Council has encouraged us to submit a comprehensive redevelopment of the quarry and surrounding land, which historically includes the riding school.”
Yesterday, a spokesman said they had nothing further to say at this point.
The riding school have teamed up with Councillors Reid and Wallace to organise a public meeting. It will be at 6pm on March 3 at St Clare’s Community Centre, Fagley.