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Plans approved to keep horses at Cookham farm

Dozens of horses will be kept on a Cookham farm after a planning application was approved by the council.

Land on Lower Mount Farm, south of Long Lane, will change from being used to keep cows to keeping 32 horses.

Royal Borough councillors approved the application, despite planning officers recommending that it be rejected.

Speaking at a development management meeting on Wednesday, April 11, Cllr Richard Kellaway (Con, Bisham and Cookham) said: “This is a vital piece of land, I would have thought that this would enhance the whole area and make sure it remains greenbelt and open land.”

Officers recommended refusal because changing the land use from keeping cows to keeping horses was considered development on the greenbelt, and they said it also did not provide adequate parking for 32 horse boxes.

Chief planning officer Jenifer Jackson said: “The fact it preserves openness does not affect the policy harm that has been identified.

“You cannot just ignore that policy.”

In response, Cllr Kellaway said: “This is like Nineteen Eighty-Four, this is Newspeak.

“When is no development a development?

“There is none and so there is no harm.”

“The idea of 32 people showing up with 32 horse boxes at one time is ludicrous.”

Geoffrey Copas, the landowner, said the application received no negative comments from residents, and that he is taking on the animals because two nearby sites for keeping race-horses have closed down.

He added that he hoped the application would be accepted so the equine community can access Cookham’s bridleways and enjoy the green belt land.

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