Plans to convert riding school into community space to face challenge from councillors in Peterborough

The application has been referred to the council’s planning committee
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Plans to convert a former horse riding centre into a community hub will be challenged by councillors.

Cllr Nicola Day (Greens, Orton Waterville) has referred the application to change the use of Lynch Farm in her ward to Peterborough City Council’s (PCC) planning committee.

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In a letter written in response to the application, she said details around the “events” which may be allowed at the site in future are “quite vague” and that residents are concerned about noise levels, traffic and parking.

Lynch FarmLynch Farm
Lynch Farm

Cllr Julie Stevenson (Orton Waterville, Independent) and Orton Waterville Parish Council have also objected to the plans.

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Nene Park Trust submits plans to transform former Peterborough riding school int...

Submitted by Nene Park Trust (NPT), they include establishing an enclosed field for dogs to walk and train and setting up a space for food fairs, family events, theatre shows and wedding hire.

Parking would be provided at Ferry Meadows, next to the site off Wistow Way, which is managed by the trust.

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Currently, the site comprises a Grade II listed farmhouse and outbuildings which were part of the Lynch Farm Riding School until it closed in 2022.

Plans for its future also include educational sessions for children and a “tent village” for schools to use as a campsite.

But it’s plans for the dog field and events that have drawn the most criticism.

Cllr Stevenson wrote that the dog enclosure is “likely to cause a disturbance to the occupants of local residences” and that she “does not agree that this site should be turned into a venue for weddings, parties or similar events”.

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“NPT is very aware of the importance of public consultation and it is disappointing that it has not done more than it has to garner the views of the local community,” she added.

The parish council has also raised concerns over the possible effects of the proposed development on a listed building and on local wildlife.

Peterborough Civic Society, meanwhile, said it’s concerned the “events” held at the site could “generate intrusive noise” and that parking may overflow onto neighbouring streets including Wistow Way as only 24 spaces have been proposed at the site.

But “the impact of the proposals on the Grade II listed building do not appear to be a concern,” it adds in its representation, although “there is no mention of whether the listed buildings will be used as part of this proposal”.

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The majority of the 30 public comments currently attached to the application also oppose it, although four are in support and two neutral.

One resident wrote that NPT seemed determined to “make whatever 'green environment' we have left in Peterborough into a Chessington World of Adventures”

“We had to fight tooth and nail last year to stop camping on this site for the Nene Valley Rock Festival,” they added, “so what makes NPT think they can do this to us again?”

Another added that a proposed £5 charge to use the dog field would be “barking mad” for immediate neighbours when there’s a park across the road.

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Even those who criticised parts of the application were supportive of education provision at the site, however.

“As someone who currently works within the education sector, I feel that forest school educational experiences are very worthwhile,” one resident wrote, adding it should be “encouraged and supported”.

PCC has not yet said when the application will be referred to its planning committee and it currently remains open for comments and further input from the NPT.

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