An equestrian centre in Ower has failed in its appeal of a decision to stop dog training businesses operating there.

Manor Equestrian Centre, in Old Salisbury Road, had applied to the New Forest National Park planning authority to confirm it has been used as a dog training enterprise since 1992.

Planners refused the application, submitted by Ian Bridgett, as they found the evidence submitted to be insufficient.

The appeal was quashed by the Planning Inspectorate on Thursday, November 16.

Daily Echo:

In the appeal, Mr Bridgett said: "Our appeal relies on our belief that we are immune from action because the activities have been running in excess of a 10 year period from the date the authority states we are in breach.

"We disagree that on the balance of probabilities that the dog training on site has amounted to a material change of use. In fact our application provided overwhelming evidence of the opposite.

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“Our evidence is independent, unambiguous, precise and should we believe justify the granting of a certificate on the balance of probability. The authority failed at the first application in November 2021 to deal with our application in a timely and professional manner."

In a report, planning inspector John Braithwaite said: “There is no evidence to indicate that changing the description of the use applied for, indicated above, was ever discussed with or agreed to by the appellant. The council’s description suggests a use of land for dog training whereas the appellant maintains that the land has been consistently used for equestrian and dog training activities, which is why he is seeking an LDC for this use. There is no justification for changing the description of the use for which an LDC is sought.

“The appellant maintains that dog training activities on the land have been taking place alongside equestrian activities since 1992. The lawful use of the land, established by the grant of planning permission, is ‘use of land and buildings as a riding school’, so for an LDC to be granted there must have been a material change in the use of the land to a mixed use of ‘equestrian and dog training activities’ and that use must have subsisted for a period of ten years and must not then have been abandoned.

“The council accepts that the land has been used for a period in excess of ten years for dog training. They maintain, however, that the level of dog training activity has not been so great that there was a material change in the use of the land before, possibly, 2021 when “…extensive outdoor facilities were introduced”. 

“Though only snapshots in time aerial photographs taken in 2014, 2017 and 2020 do not show there to be any dog training equipment on the land, whereas an aerial photograph of 2021 shows dog training equipment on the land. 

“However, at no time since 1992 has there been, on the balance of probability and as a matter of planning judgement, a ten year period when dog training activities have been at such a level that there has been a material change of use of the land from the lawful use of ‘riding school’ to a mixed use of ‘equestrian and dog training activities’. Dog training activities have occurred alongside the lawful equestrian use but have not become a primary use of the land, until possibly recently.

“For the reasons given above the council’s refusal to grant an LDC in respect of ‘equestrian and dog training activities’ was well-founded and the appeal thus fails.”