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International showjumper Megan Broadway ordered to tear down Sway riding arena

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AN international showjumper has been ordered to tear down a riding arena she built without permission in Sway after losing a planning battle with the national park authority.

Megan Broadway has been given nine months to dismantle the sand manège, horse-walker, earthworks and sections of track, paths and parking areas at Eastwoods, Pitmore Lane.

A government planning inspector, Stephen Hawkins, rejected her bid to overturn an NPA enforcement notice requiring its removal.

Megan Broadway racing in the New Forest point-to-point in 2015 (Photo: Becky Takes Photos) (54912288)
Megan Broadway racing in the New Forest point-to-point in 2015 (Photo: Becky Takes Photos) (54912288)

He also threw out an application to build a riding arena, with horse-walker, landscaping, alterations to stables and barn and rainwater storage tanks.

In planning documents, Miss Broadway said she bought the site in 2020 as a home to "continue the long-standing personal equestrian use of the land and its facilities".

She also intended to train to "enable her to compete at various international events each year – including competing for Team Great Britain".

Team GB had "very specific training requirements" that necessitated a purpose-built riding arena, she said, which would be used to train horses "for jumping ready for high level competitions, for ground work and other exercises".

The document argued Miss Broadway's "unique personal circumstances" meant that granting permission "would not set a precedent for future inappropriate developments within the national park".

Pitmore Lane, Sway (Photo: Google) (54879723)
Pitmore Lane, Sway (Photo: Google) (54879723)

However, the planning inspector said the 50-metre by 60-metre manège, built in place of a small-scale grass area, gave an "assertive, man-made and formalised appearance", resulting in it "appearing as an obvious and alien feature in its surroundings".

The works had "significantly and appreciably eroded the largely unspoilt, pastoral visual qualities of their surroundings", he said.

He added they did "not conserve the character of the landscape" and were "unsympathetic in terms of scale, appearance, form and siting".

The hardstanding was likely to have vehicles parked on it or stored, the inspector noted.

He said the appellant’s offer to try to mitigate the impact of the development, such as screening the building with planting and painting the roof black, were not sufficient.

Mr Hawkins noted Miss Broadway's international level standards of competition.

While that could "provide some public benefit" to "foster civic pride" and inspire others to take up riding, he said there was "no firm evidence" that was any more than "small scale".

Miss Broadway also argued the nine-month deadline the NPA gave her to comply with the enforcement order was too short.

However, the inspector also rejected that. He said: "To my mind, nine months affords ample time to search for and engage suitable contractors to undertake the remedial works, to arrange for and secure any necessary financing and to have the works undertaken."

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