RCC was approached to discuss a number of options at a recently purchased property within the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The key project was to create an outdoor riding arena. The only practical option was on an area of made up land created with excess soil following the construction of a nearby farm building years before. The site can be seen in the attached ‘before’ photographs.
Site prior to works taking place
Being in the AONB the site was in a sensitive landscape area and the local planning authority had a statutory duty to protect that landscape. The proposal therefore was carefully presented to demonstrate that the arena would cause no harm to that landscape. We did in fact present the case to demonstrate that, having regard to the current nature of the site, the proposal would actually enhance that landscape.
Another issue raised by the proposal was to ensure that the levels created minimised the need to take any soil from the site, thus avoiding the costs associated with the disposal of that soil. In this instance, once an accurate topographical survey was undertaken, the architects (PKA Architects) used specialist software to work out the optimum levels for the site. The layout and cross sections proposed can be seen in the drawing extracts attached. The application was subsequently approved and the photographs attached show the built arena. You will notice in these photographs that floodlighting has also now been installed. This was subject to a later planning permission dealt with by RCC.