PLANS have been approved for an outdoor manege to be built next to a grade two listed house in Halse, near Fitzhead, after it was reduced by one-third in size.

Lynne Everington and her husband want the 147 feet by 82 feet riding arena at Brufords Farm, Northway Lane, for them to be able to exercise and train their own horses.

Somerset Council planning officer Kieran Reeves said changing the use of part of a field next to the house for a horse riding arena was not against planning policies.

Mr Reeves said changes had been made to the original proposals, including making it smaller, in order that the development would not unacceptably impact on the landscape or the 17th century farm building.

He said landscape objections had been overcome by reducing the amount of engineering works so the slope below the manege was less steep and pronounced.

Construction of the manege for the sole use of residents of Brufords Farm would promote sustainable travel as Mr and Mrs Everington would no longer have to travel with a horse box or a horse lorry to reach facilities elsewhere.

Mr Reeves said a condition of approval was that the manege would not be used for livery letting, leasing, or any other commercial activity, including breeding, riding instruction, gymkhanas, trials, or horse shows, unless the council gave its permission in advance.

Mr and Mrs Everington’s planning agent Russell Williams, of Williams Planning Ltd, said the field was currently laid to grass and used for grazing horses they kept in adjoining stables.

Mr Williams said the new sand school riding arena would only be used by Mr and Mrs Everington to exercise and train their own horses.

He said the council’s planning policies were silent in regard to equestrian development, but it was reasonable to anticipate a riding arena would be located in the countryside by their very nature.

The only views of the site were from a significant distance across the valley from the south, and it could not be seen from the nearest neighbouring property.