Ham Polo Club appeals Council's decision not to allow a winter polo arena next to Ham House

By Heather Nicholls

16th Feb 2024 | Local News

The proposed view from the North Terrace of Ham House. (Photo Credit: Planning documents).
The proposed view from the North Terrace of Ham House. (Photo Credit: Planning documents).

Ham Polo Club is appealing Richmond Council's decision not to allow a winter polo arena next to Ham House.

The original application sought to extend the existing sand arena at Ham Polo Club.

The site currently consists of a polo field, an equestrian track, and various buildings associated with the use of the club such as stables, offices, and club house.

There is also an existing sand arena to the North West of the site, enclosed by a timber fence.

The current view from Ham House. (Photo Credit: Planning Application).

The application says: "The area to the south of the existing sand arena which would form the area for the extension is used by the club for stick and balling.

"The club currently uses the existing small arena for horse jumping / riding lessons, but the uses are restricted by the arena's inadequate size.

"An extension to the arena, as proposed in this application, would be of massive benefit to the club and its members by safely facilitating a much broader spectrum of uses, including winter polo, riding lessons in the winter months, schooling for lunging/dressage and jumping for non polo."

It added: "Being able to use the sand arena for the previously mentioned equestrian activities throughout the year, but especially in the winter, would help to establish a more even usage of the club throughout the course of the year, rather than just during the summer season which runs from April - September."

It also added that the extension would be safer turning out area for the horses, as currently they are in an area where people can wander and come into contact with the horses.

The application received 213 objections and 19 comments of support.

Richmond Council rejected the application on 27 February 2023.

The council said that they refused the decision because "The erection of the close boarded fencing, the lowering, levelling and finish of the arena and laying of grasscrete, by reason of its siting, scale, materiality and associated activity which impacts upon the tranquillity of the site, would comprise inappropriate development which would be harmful to Metropolitan Open Land, in principle, and adversely impacts on the spatial and visual openness of the area."

It also added that the development would also have caused harm to The Ham House Conservation Area.

Ham Polo Club is now appealing the decision to the planning inspectorate in Bristol.

Cllr Andrée Frieze, for Ham, Petersham and Richmond Riverside, said: "I spoke against the application due to the negative impact it would have on Ham House, Melancholy Walk and the view up to Star & Garter, as well as the noise from the games and traffic impacts."

View the planning application here.

Ham Polo Club has been contacted for comment but they have not yet responded.


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