Queen’s cousin in planning showdown

The polo-loving Marquess of Milford Haven, a cousin of the Queen, is heading for another showdown with Chichester District Council over unauthorised developments at his Milland estate.

There is to be a public inquiry after he appealed against the council’s refusal to allow him retrospective planning permission to retain an all-weather manege, exercise track and its associated landscaping scheme, built without planning consent.

Lord Milford Haven won a partial victory and also suffered a defeat over plans to retain equestrian and polo facilities on his 500-hectare country estate at Milland in October when Chichester district councillors considered two separate applications for the Great Trippetts Estate.

They voted unanimously to approve the first – for the retention of 44 looseboxes, tackrooms and store, a storage building, a building for a ‘bucking bronco’ practice mount, an automatic horse walker, and a concrete yard for storage of plant and equipment to maintain polo lawns.

Approval had been recommended by planning officers. But the second application, to retain the all-weather manege – an arena used to train and exercise polo ponies – was rejected by councillors, on the recommendation of the officers, because of ‘unacceptable harm’ to the South Downs National Park.

The committee was split five-five, and the refusal was agreed on the casting vote of committee chairman Eileen Lintill. Planning manager David Few said the manege had been built without planning permission, and was about one hectare in size.

The committee was told about 130 horses were kept on the estate all the year round. Others were brought in and trained for polo teams.

A report by planning officers said the present manege had been the subject of appeals against an enforcement notice, and the refusal of planning permission for its retention in 2009.

Both appeals were dismissed, although they were then subject to a challenge in the high court this year. The high court challenge was successful, and the secretary of state’s decision was quashed. However, the secretary of state had now sought leave to appeal.