More than 80 people had objected to the plans
Controversial plans to build an all-weather polo pitch in a Lincolnshire village have been given the go-ahead.
Leadenham Polo Club had asked North Kesteven District Council (NKDC) for permission to build the pitch, along with associated facilities at North Hilltop Farmhouse, in The Heath, near the village.
The plans, which would see the creation of a new car park, new fencing, new lighting and the conversion of some farm buildings into stables, sparked a flood of complaints from people living in the area.
The applicant said the plans were key to allowing the sport to become accessible all year round, with the new pitch meaning training and lessons could take place in winter.
But more than 80 people objected the the plans, saying it would disrupt the character of the area if approved, and said floodlights there would cause light pollution for nearby residents.
They also raised concerns about the welfare of the horses and highway safety.
However, despite this, councillors voted to approve the plans by a nine to two majority at an NKDC planning meeting on June 9.
Cllr Anthony Brand, who represents Sleaford Westholme ward, said he voted to approve the plans because of the benefits it would bring to the local area.
“It’s a complex application with many people supporting and many people objecting,” he said.
“When we looked at it in its entirety and heard from everyone, as far as I was concerned I thought it was reasonable to pass it.
“There was a lot of debate on heritage issues and I’m a great advocate of maintaining heritage.”
He added that he believed the application would save the stables from being demolished or left unused any longer.
“We asked a question in terms of the stable, and it turned out there would be nothing in the way of them demolishing it,” he said.
“The application actually saved the stables – if they were not part of the plan they could be completely demolished.
“There were objections that the farm would collapse but I thought it would benefit. It should be an enhancement.”
The design and access statement submitted by the polo club said the new pitch would be more suitable for horses and ponies in winter than the current one.
It said: “A ten acre grass field such as a polo field is not the best environment to introduce and coach people who may have physical limitations and might need the contained area that an arena offers as well as the reassurance of definite barriers and a reliably soft surface.”3 Retirement QuestionsYou’re close to retirement, but now are wondering: Can I afford it – or should I wait?Ad by TIAA See More
They added that horses would be let out into the pasture to maintain their physical and mental health, while the lighting would be done in such a way that it would be visible from only two nearby properties.
Among those who objected was Leadenham Parish Council which said it has concerns about “inadequate car parking”, where horse manure will be deposited and the visual impact of the floodlights.
Meanwhile, the council’s conservation officer also objected, saying they were concerned “it will not be possible to physically implement the new use without it being necessary to make considerable alterations to this buildings”, which are a non-designated heritage asset.