Portland riding stables in move to help tourism

Dorset Echo: RIDING HIGH: The site of the new stables complex on Portland RIDING HIGH: The site of the new stables complex on Portland

A MOVE to develop a Portland riding stables at a new site on the island has been given the go ahead.

Sue Lees has been given planning permission to relocate her Windmill Stables from its site off Weston Street to farmland she owns off Sweet Hill Road.

The new complex, which would help the business develop as a riding school, includes 52 stables with associated office, staff rooms, feed rooms, livery room and tack rooms.

There is also a storage barn and a chalet bungalow-style dwelling with six bedrooms serving as bed and breakfast accommodation.

The stables would be built in a traditional courtyard style, with a 9.7 metre tower above an entrance archway.

Members of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council ’s planning and traffic committee spoke in favour of the plan, despite a report suggesting it should be refused.

The report said the tower is ‘excessively elaborate and large’ and that the size of the house ‘goes beyond the essential need requirements for the proposed business’.

However councillors they said want to encourage tourism and sport in the area and carry on the legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games.

Councillor Robbie Dunster said the council should support local businesses and industry as much as possible. He said: “The Olympics have highlighted horse riding and it’s a part of our legacy.

“This would encourage tourism and bring jobs to Portland.”

Councillor Peter Farrell said it is important to inspire youngsters to take up horse riding following the success of British teams at the Olympics.

He said: “There were a record number of medals for equestrian in the Olympics and the flags say inspire a generation.

“We should be protecting and encouraging stables. I think we should show support and approve this.”

Ms Lees has been trying to find an alternative site for her stables because the current home is too small and cannot be developed.

Local businessman Geoff Smith said the Sweet Hill site was the only place the stables could go where they would not affect quarrying operations.

The committee unanimously approved the proposal with recommendations at a meeting on Wednesday, September 19.

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