Merton Council is currently accepting comments on a planning application to redevelop the former site of Ridgway Stables. The planned redevelopment will see retail and office space installed at the front of the site, with a smaller riding school to be retained at the rear of the site.
Since the eviction of Ridgway Stables in September 2017 local Lib Dems have supported community campaigners calling for an accessible and affordable riding school to be maintained at the site. While the landlord has committed to reopening a riding school, they have refused to give a guarantee that the new riding school will retain Ridgway Stables’ historic focus on accessibility for young people, especially those from less privileged backgrounds.
We are calling on the landlord to guarantee that the new stables will prioritise affordability and accessibility for young people, and to outline during the planning process the ways in which they will promote affordability and accessibility.
You can find the application in full and add any comments you have online at this link. The deadline for comments is Sunday 2 February 2020.
Back in 2017 local Lib Dems supported a community campaign to save Ridgway Stables, and the accessible riding facilities it provided to children of all ages and backgrounds, after it emerged that the landlord was planning to evict the stable manager and redevelop the site. While the stables closed in September 2017, pressure from the local campaigners – including a petition that received almost 9,000 signatures – saw the landlord agree to maintain a riding school.
The previous Ridgway Stables was unique in offering affordable and accessible riding lessons for children and running programmes in partnership with Merton Council, Camp Beaumont and local schools that aimed to make riding more accessible to underprivileged young people. Our priority since the closure of Ridgway Stables has been to maintain similar accessible riding facilities at the site.
Local Lib Dems and the community campaigners met with the landlord in February 2019 to discuss the proposed redevelopment. While we are pleased that the landlord has committed to maintaining a riding school at the site, we have not received any guarantee that the new riding school will retain the focus on accessibility for young people, especially those from less privileged backgrounds.
We are therefore calling on the landlord to guarantee that the new stables will prioritise affordability and accessibility for young people, and to outline during the planning process the ways in which they will promote affordability and accessibility.
Comment on the application online here