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Orchard Way, Eastchurch, stables plan for neglected land earns approval from Swale council

By Emma Grove

Plans for stables and other associated horse equipment will “make good honest use” of a neglected piece of land, according to a councillor.

Members of Swale council’s planning committee approved Lisa Marshall’s application for the site next to 35 Orchard Way, Eastchurch, at a meeting on Thursday.

She applied to build a stable block, menage, horse walker and lighting, and change the use of the land to allow her animals to graze.

The plot in Orchard Way, Eastchurch
The plot in Orchard Way, Eastchurch

Eastchurch Parish Council objected to the proposal because of concerns over the future of trees on the site and that the stables could be used for accommodation in future, and there was one letter of objection from a resident worried about light pollution and insufficient access.

Nine letters of support were received commending the proposal, saying it will retain the wildlife habitat, is beneficial to horses, is better than a residential development, and is in keeping with the area.

Mrs Marshall spoke at the meeting and said she has horses in nearby Range Road and this would allow them to all be in one place.

She said: “The area was previously a dumping ground.

“The silver birches were being strangled [by brambles] – we have planted 1,200 bulbs and promoted new growth.

“We are property owners within the area, so it’s in our interest to keep it as it is.

“It’s not a commercial venture but for friends and family.”

Minster Cliffs councillor Andy Booth said: “I welcome this application.

“I think it’s going to make good honest use of a piece of land that has been scrubland for a long period of time.

“That area is in desperate need of revamping and I think this application ticks all the boxes.”

Leysdown and Warden councillor Pat Sandle raised concerns about the time restrictions on the lighting, which go up to 9pm.

She said it seems a bit excessive and that at the Island’s eastern end there are already buildings with blazing lights on the them in the middle of the countryside.

Cllr Sandle abstained from the vote because of these reservations, but her colleagues approved the plan.

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