Planners gallop in to rescue the healing horses of Illston

Judith Edwards of the Spirit at Play equine centre in Illston on the Hill.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Judith Edwards of the Spirit at Play equine centre in Illston on the Hill.'PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

A healing horses centre near a Leicestershire village has got planning permission from the district council - despite objections from local villagers.

The Spirit At Play organisation can now set up their equine assisted learning centre just outside Illston on the Hill.

After hearing the council’s decision at a planning meeting on Tuesday night, a sobbing Judith Edwards, the volunteer project manager, said “our horses are our lives - this is wonderful news”.

Malcolm Radcliffe, vice chairman of Illston parish council, said the plan would turn a greenfield site into “a brownfield site” full of ill-constructed buildings.

And another parish councillor, Ian Lauder, said access to the proposed site was near a dangerous junction and presented environmental health concerns.

But Spirit At Play supporters told the meeting the group did “marvellous work” with people with all kinds of disabilities.

They said the “low-key development” would be an asset to the area.

Ms Edwards’ partner David Thompson said he had done his best to meet all complaints from local people, including altering the entrance to the facility.

Cllr Sindy Modha said: “This seems to me to be a very laudable and lovely venture to support.”

The planning committee passed the Spirit At Play plan unanimously.

*In other planning news, planners said “yes” to a new car park for Market Harborough. The car park, for up to 124 cars, will be on the former Travis Perkins site in Clarence Street in the town. The car park is within five minutes walk of the town’s railway station.

Local residents had argued that the car park would add to the street’s already serious traffic problems, and presented a safety risk for people using the car park.

But Phil Grant, director of County Car Parks Ltd, said the car park was only proposed for three years, until the plot could be developed for housing, and was much better than a derelict site.

* A plan to erect a 45 metre high wind turbine on a site near Billesdon, in the north of the Harborough district, has been turned down by council planners.

Councillors agreed that the wind turbine, off Gaulby Road, would “significantly harm the character and appearance of the landscape” and harm local heritage assets.