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Durdans planning applications rejected

February 16, 2009 6:09 PM
Delivering Equestrian petition to Town Hall

Lib Dem spokesperson for Woodcote ward, Diana Coman (left), joined other ward representatives to present a petition organised by the Epsom Equestrian Conservation Group

Two controversial planning applications affecting the former stables of "The Durdans" in Chalk Lane have been resoundingly rejected at a special meeting of the Planning Committee.

The main application involved converting the historic indoor riding school into offices, replacing the current "Lavandou" riding school with houses and converting the historic racing stables into apartments. It was also proposed to expand the smaller "Jodie's yard" stables which lie in the Green Belt.

The indoor riding school is a listed building, thanks to its magnificent roof, but has been neglected. It had been suggested that the conversion to offices was the only way to save it. However Lib Dem planning spokesman Cllr Colin Taylor pointed out that it is the view of the roof from inside the building, above the clear-span riding arena with its echoes of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, that is so special. Adding a mezzanine floor for the offices would spoil this.

Lib Dem Cllr Anna Jones (College ward) pointed out that the whole stables complex and the wider Chalk Lane area would benefit from a formal Planning Brief, which the council has implemented in other areas, most recently the Upper High Street. She said it was vital to have a proper consultation, like the one conducted recently for the Town Centre.

The formal reasons for refusal of the main application included the loss of an established stables, the effects on residents in the adjacent homes, the effects on the Chalk Lane conservation area, highway safety and the impact of the mezzanine floor, although others were put forward. Expanding Jodie's Yard was considered to be inappropriate development in the Green Belt.