Rail link could force stables to close down

Rail link could force stables to close down

Hazel Offord with one of her horses

Hazel Offord with her father John

First published in News

RIDING school owners fear they might have to close and sell their animals because of noise from a new rail link.

Wendlebury Gate Stables owner Hazel Offord said noise from the planned East-West rail link could interrupt classes and frighten horses.

The project will rebuild the line between Oxford and Bicester and connect it to Bedford from August next year.

Ms Offord said surveys show a planned noise reduction barrier would have to be at a “fair” or “good” standard.

But Network Rail says none of the barriers it has investigated meet the requirements of the 25-year-old business.

A petition, set up on the Government’s petitions website for an “adequate” barrier, has attracted more than 500 signatures.

Ms Offord, 45, said: “If we don’t get the barrier, people will not be able to hear, and that is pretty important when you are teaching them to ride.

“It is exceptionally stressful. We feel we are being left in the dark. The hardest part is the lack of communication.”

Work has started to lay the tracks by the school – around 100m away – which has 36 horses and gives 4,000 lessons a year.

Ms Offord’s father John, a co-owner of the business, said: “The noise from high speed trains running along our boundary is predicted to drown out communication between instructor and rider making it unsafe to continue as a riding school. Even if we did not close, our licencing authority would force us to.”

The next closest riding school is in Turpins Lodge, Hook Norton, 22 miles away.

Mr Offord added: “The stable employs 15 people who will be put out of work.”

Network Rail spokeswoman Victoria Bradley said: “We have investigated all the options available to us for installing a sound barrier near to Wentlebury Gate Stables.

“While none of these options has received a ‘fair’ rating, we will continue to work with the owners to mitigate any increase in noise levels.

“We are confident this can be achieved and that the business can continue to operate safely.”

The petition is at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/68162

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Comments (3)

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4:49pm Wed 6 Aug 14

snert says...

Sadly this is another example of where the Government will do it's own thing without listening to the little guy. Esssentially they don't care.

They stopped caring when Blair came into power and turned running a country into a marketing campaign to get votes to stay in power for the sake of it and not for the sake of the country and its people.
Sadly this is another example of where the Government will do it's own thing without listening to the little guy. Esssentially they don't care. They stopped caring when Blair came into power and turned running a country into a marketing campaign to get votes to stay in power for the sake of it and not for the sake of the country and its people. snert
  • Score: 2

9:04pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Dilligaf2010 says...

I'm guessing the trains will be passing continuously then, rather than at regular intervals, like everywhere else?
This isn't about possible noise, it's about compensation
I'm guessing the trains will be passing continuously then, rather than at regular intervals, like everywhere else? This isn't about possible noise, it's about compensation Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 0

11:15am Thu 7 Aug 14

EMBOX2 says...

Plenty of horses & cattle graze near railway lines. They, like us, get used to it after a while.

The EW rail link is a vital part of linking the country back up, whereas the silly HS2 rip-off isn't.
Plenty of horses & cattle graze near railway lines. They, like us, get used to it after a while. The EW rail link is a vital part of linking the country back up, whereas the silly HS2 rip-off isn't. EMBOX2
  • Score: 4

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