Expansion plans for a £1 million horse-riding centre at Bradford's country park are galloping ahead.

An indoor riding arena and outdoor menage have been given the go-ahead at St Ives park in Harden, near Bingley.

Drawn up by Bradford Independent Health Care, the project will provide riding lessons for people with disabilities from across the district and is connected to the disabled unit at the park.

Today the unit's equestrian manager Mandy Asquith said she was "over the moon" permission had been granted.

"It's so exciting and now we are looking forward to getting the arena built and get the lessons up and running," said Mrs Asquith, who is qualified to teach horse-riding to people with special needs.

"It's such a lovely location up here, so picturesque, and riders will benefit from that as much as the experience of learning to ride."

The centre will be developed at Home Farm, next to St Ives mansion, and work is expected to begin in the next few weeks. It will be open to the public at weekends.

Mrs Asquith said she was now working on fundraising to pay for horses and recruiting volunteers who would be trained to help run the riding lessons.

"People don't need to have any experience as they will be fully trained. The only requirement is enthusiasm," she said.

Councillor David Heseltine (Con, Bingley) said it was a welcome addition to the park. "It's good news to see this is going ahead and it's good to see a wider range of facilities at the park," he said.

The project is part of a five-to-ten-year development plan which includes opening a bird house and sensory garden.

The plan was approved by Shipley Area Panel but was first referred to the Government Regional Office as the land is owned by Bradford Council.

Shipley area planning manager Peter Bridgeman said: "We had to give the Government the option of calling it in but it came back to Bradford saying we were free to make a decision."

Bradford Council last year carried out improvements at the 100-acre site, including sign-posted footpaths and a new tea room is also being built.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer or holding a fundraising event can contact Mrs Asquith on (01274) 561893.