COUNCILLORS have demanded that plans for an Easter Ross riding centre be revised to ensure its car park is moved away from the only nearby residential property.
The hardstanding area for parking at the proposed equestrian centre near Edderton has already been built without permission and this week members of Highland Council’s north planning applications committee questioned why it had been located 15 metres from the only house in the area.
Now applicant Richard Pumphrey is being given the chance to change the plans to relocate the parking away from the property.
Mr Pumphrey is seeking planning permission to build a riding centre with manege, access, parking, floodlights, caravan and portable office near Bogrow, Edderton.
Twelve objectors raised concerns about road safety, increased traffic, lack of toilets, the impact on neighbouring residential amenity, visual intrusion, the size and position of the caravan and removal of trees.
The committee meeting on Tuesday morning heard the proposal is partly in retrospect as the access road, hardstanding area and car parking had already been built.
Mr Pumphrey explained in supporting information to the planning department the work was carried out because he was not aware of legislative changes in relation to tracks and car parks on agricultural land.
Local councillor Graham Phillips (East Sutherland and Edderton) told the committee the applicant had been running his riding centre business for some time elsewhere on the land and that involved riders coming up the road in a steady hack to reach the nearby forestry, which sometimes resulted in motorists being held up.
He said moving the riding centre further up the hill, closer to the forestry, would remove the traffic problem and improve safety.
Committee chair Isobel McCallum (Black Isle) said it was most unfortunate that part of the application was retrospective as she doubted the committee would have allowed the parking area to be built right in front of a house, considering the applicant owned the whole field.
She added that she planned to move refusal of the application on the basis that the parking area would not have been approved if it had come before the committee in normal circumstances.
Councillor Gillian Coghill (Landward Caithness) agreed, saying that cars and horse boxes would be parking right in front of the only house in the area.
“It was not really well thought out,” she said.
Area planning manager Dafydd Jones suggested there was another option to consider as an alternative to refusal.
“As there is concern about the impact on parking at the property there is an option of deferring the application to ask the applicant to relocate the parking away from the property,” he said.
The committee agreed to the deferral and Councillor McCallum asked that the revised plan be brought back before the committee.