An application to create a private riding arena at a site near Brecon has been approved.

But more thought is needed when conditions are proposed to be attached to planning permission, a councillor has said.

At a meeting of Powys County Council’s Planning, Taxi Licensing and Rights of Way committee on Thursday, June 27 discussed an application by Gary Arnold for the formation of an outdoor riding arena and associated works at Cefn Code Mawr bungalow, Sarnau near Brecon.

The application was in front of the committee as Mr Arnold is related to a senior Powys council chief.

The field is currently used as a paddock for grazing and the riding arena would be for Mr Arnold’s private use.

The arena would be 45 metres in length and 25 metres in width covering an area of 1125 square metres and the field has been classed as “poor quality agricultural land.”

Planning officer Emma Jones recommended that councillors approve the application.

Committee solicitor Rachel Moles said: “Given the nature of the applicant in this matter I have reviewed the file and can confirm this has been processed appropriately.”

Cllr Adrian Jones said: “Could we make sure that topsoil is not removed away from the site as if it needs to be reinstated (as a field) it’s important that it can be in the future?

Ms Jones said that this could be added as a “condition” attached to the planning permission.

Cllr Jones said: “I would like that.

“It’s important as things do change and people might want it put back as a field.”

But Cllr Gareth Pugh disagreed with this.

Cllr Adrian Jones and Cllr Gareth Pugh
Left is Cllr Adrian Jones and right is Cllr Gareth Pugh (PCC)

Cllr Pugh said: “I think we quite hastily just attached a condition to this application without giving it any thought at all.

“Leaving the soil on site without working out how much it could be, this could be one massive amount.”

He was also concerned that the committee were setting a “precedent” and that other developers might also need to leave topsoil on site in the future.

Cllr Pugh said: “I think that needs a lot more consideration before just saying I’ll add that.

“It was rushed through so quickly we didn’t have a discussion and I disagree with it.

“You could have a huge amount of soil left there to no purpose at all.”

Committee chairman, Cllr Gareth D Jones apologised to the committee and said he felt that everyone was “in agreement” with the condition as he saw no hands being raised by councillors when it was discussed.

Professional planning lead Peter Morris said that the proposal included “cut and fill” of the topsoil in that it would be taken from one part of the site and placed in another in a bid to level up the site.

Mr Morris said: “The soil will be used as part of the development itself.”

Cllr Pugh asked for the condition to be removed.

Cllr (Adrian) Jones agreed to remove the condition he originally championed but wanted it “mentioned” that the ability to return the field to agricultural use in the future is still needed.

Councillors went to a vote and backed the proposal unanimously.