Rail link could force stables to close down

Hazel Offord with one of her horses. Pictures: OX68980 Jon Lewis

Hazel Offord with one of her horses. Pictures: OX68980 Jon Lewis Buy this photo

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.

Oxford Mail:

Hazel and father John Offord

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 (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

4:13pm Wed 6 Aug 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

moan moan moan..
moan moan moan.. yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: 1

6:26pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

Note to editor, the link for the e-petition doesn't work.
Note to editor, the link for the e-petition doesn't work. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 0

9:03pm 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: -3

10:32pm Wed 6 Aug 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

According to the 2010 archives of "The Oxford Mail"...

"Health and safety consultants Harris and Porter calculated that without a noise barrier there could be up to two serious or fatal accidents at the stables a year due to excess noise from passing trains."

I can imagine the biggest fear now will be how their insurers will interpret the detailed report that clearly states to expect up to two fatalities a year at the riding school - particularly now we know that it will be 125mph operation for cross-country services...
According to the 2010 archives of "The Oxford Mail"... "Health and safety consultants Harris and Porter calculated that without a noise barrier there could be up to two serious or fatal accidents at the stables a year due to excess noise from passing trains." I can imagine the biggest fear now will be how their insurers will interpret the detailed report that clearly states to expect up to two fatalities a year at the riding school - particularly now we know that it will be 125mph operation for cross-country services... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

9:11pm Sat 9 Aug 14

JFS123 says...

This is most definitely about the compensation. This is a local family run riding school, employing local people . Surely we should be supporting them and not making snide, misinformed comments. I hope that people will sign the petition and show Network Rail that they can't get away with treating people in this disgusting fashion. Go to epetitions and type in Wendlebury Gate Stables to sign.
This is most definitely about the compensation. This is a local family run riding school, employing local people . Surely we should be supporting them and not making snide, misinformed comments. I hope that people will sign the petition and show Network Rail that they can't get away with treating people in this disgusting fashion. Go to epetitions and type in Wendlebury Gate Stables to sign. JFS123
  • Score: 0

9:26pm Sun 10 Aug 14

JFS123 says...

JFS123 wrote:
This is most definitely about the compensation. This is a local family run riding school, employing local people . Surely we should be supporting them and not making snide, misinformed comments. I hope that people will sign the petition and show Network Rail that they can't get away with treating people in this disgusting fashion. Go to epetitions and type in Wendlebury Gate Stables to sign.
The above comment should read This is most definitely NOT about compensation! Apologies.
[quote][p][bold]JFS123[/bold] wrote: This is most definitely about the compensation. This is a local family run riding school, employing local people . Surely we should be supporting them and not making snide, misinformed comments. I hope that people will sign the petition and show Network Rail that they can't get away with treating people in this disgusting fashion. Go to epetitions and type in Wendlebury Gate Stables to sign.[/p][/quote]The above comment should read This is most definitely NOT about compensation! Apologies. JFS123
  • Score: 0

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