I am not opposed in principle to horsey developments but they must be in the right place. The proposed hippopolis at the former Stud Farm, now ridiculously named Valentine Farm, at Skirmett near Hambleden in the Chilterns is in the wrong place.
This is a revived plan to develop the old farm into a private equestrian development with a mass of paraphernalia: riding area, stables, tack rooms, feed and rug room, washrooms, office, store rooms and horse walker. It’s enormous – over twice the size of the existing buildings. A plan for this site was withdrawn last year after the planners advised that the scheme would need to be ‘very different’ to be approved. Yet this scheme is in fact very similar.
Furthermore, the application is twinned with another which seeks to alter the agricultural occupancy condition so that anyone can live there, not merely an agricultural worker. This would make it much easier to develop the site further in future.
This is an incredibly beautiful Chiltern valley, quiet, picturesque and surrounded by well-used public paths, from which the development will be starkly visible and a massive blot on the landscape.
We all hope fervently that Wycombe District Council’s planning committee remains consistent and once again says that such a development is unacceptable.