Riding centre plans at city farm split opinion
COUNTRY life coming to the city centre? Or the loss of green space in a built-up area?
That's the debate in Tredworth where ambitious £60,000 plans for a new equestrian centre are being assessed by planners.
"We have been taking youngsters horse riding for about three years and it's always been really popular," said Imran Atcha, of Gymnation, which runs the St James' City Farm on Gloucester City Council land.
"We have a partnership with Hartpury College to keep a pony there for lessons and for youngsters to learn to care for horses, but we want to bring it here."
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But the application for an all-weather 40 metre by 20 metre riding arena and menage next to St James' Park on land currently used for grazing and exercising animals hasn't found favour with all.
"There is precious little green space in Barton and Tredworth," said Tredworth resident Kay Powell, who is unhappy that the application appears to cover not just land which the city council leases to Gymnation, but another patch of land the council owns too.
"This development will swamp it and take another public green area away." And objector Joe Kilker told the council: "We have a flurry of four supporting comments, and not a single one of them addresses the fact that a large chunk of St James' Park is going to be withheld from residents, without any of them being invited to have a say in the matter."
The application is currently online and comments from the public are being taken by the council.
Mr Atcha said some of the cost of the £60,000 to £70,000 project is being met by the charity Wooden Spoon. Running costs of up to £25,000 would be met by the cost of lessons.
Pat Scannell, chairman of Tredworth Estate Tenants and Residents Association said it was a "fantastic idea".
"There are people in this locality who are very much interested in riding but don't know where to go," he said.