Polo patron loses fight for land in Easebourne

Salkeld (green) v Twelve Oaks (white) in a Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Polo match on Lawns 2 at Cowdray Park Polo Club on Sunday 23 June 2013
Salkeld (green) v Twelve Oaks (white) in a Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup Polo match on Lawns 2 at Cowdray Park Polo Club on Sunday 23 June 2013

THE PATRON of a high goal polo team, Nicholas Clarke has lost his fight to keep and train polo ponies at Brackenwood on Telegraph Hill at Easebourne.

Mr Clarke’s polo team Salkeld, is a regular participator at Cowdray Park during the season where they have taken part in the prestigious Veuve Cliquot Gold Cup tournament for the British Open Polo Championship for several years.

In October Mr Clarke launched five appeals against the refusal of the South Downs National Park and Chichester District Council planning authorities to allow him to use the land for polo activities.

His appeals were the subject of a three- day planning inquiry at Midhurst’s Capron House in October.

But two weeks ago government planning inspector Nigel Freeman announced he had upheld the planning authorities decisions and ordered Mr Clarke to discontinue the use of the land for the keeping and training of polo ponies.

He has also been told to remove the surface material forming the exercise track from the land at Brackenwood and in-fill the depression in the ground to match the profile of the existing land on either side and reseed with grass.

He has been given six months to comply with the appeal inspector’s decision.

Mr Clarke also lost his appeal to keep a large stable building which it was claimed had been erected without planning permission together with a metal framed stable building, horse walker and, horse tethering area, a timber hay store and a timber stable block.

In his decision the planning inspector said the polo patron should remove the large stable building, break up and remove the associated tarmac surface and remove the metal framed stable, the horse walker and the fencing the material forming the horse tethering area as well as the timber structures.

The inspector said he was concerned about the scale of buildings introduced which were not typical of the majority of equestrian activities found in the countryside and the national park.

He added: “I conclude that the development has not conserved the landscape and scenic beauty of the South Downs National Park but introduced a form of development which has marred this beauty.”