The paddock, in Markland Lane, Elmton, which is leased by the estate to Tracey Scrimshaw, has been the subject of dispute ever since neighbour Jonathan Parish complained to Bolsover District Council about the erection of two shelters in 2018.
In a meeting of the council’s planning committee on Wednesday, June 8 he stated: “When I contacted the planning office they confirmed they had no awareness of any construction or request for planning permission.”
He said despite the intervention of planning officers, further buildings emerged on the land, which was supposed to be solely for agricultural use, without planning permission.
Mr Parish added: “Within two or three weeks those shelters had turned into stables, they then created two more stables, then a garage, then two lean-tos and a tack room.”
He concluded: “If this was done on the other side of the golden valley in Chatsworth I can tell you this would not have been allowed to happen.”
However Miss Scrimshaw said she had been unaware she needed planning permission for the structures, even after being investigated by the planning department in 2018, or that she might need to apply for permission for further development.
She said it was only following further complaint in August 2021 that she applied for retrospective planning permission for change of use from agricultural to equine use with the erection of two stables/field shelters.
“We are not a business, we are not a livery, we use a John Deere agricultural vehicle for paddock maintenance,” Miss Scrimshaw added.
“I have not blocked access, pulled down any walls, hedges, trees – as per my land lease.”
Another Elmton resident Dr Geoff Cutts spoke against the application, stating it was a ‘damning prospect for all’ that the tenant had not given consideration to the villagers.
Councillor Jim Clifton, who represents Elmton, said he was ‘not happy at all’ with the application and described it as ‘common sense’ that the applicant would have been told she needed planning permission to progress with any further development.
He commented: “The whole site is a breach of planning control.”
Assistant Director Chris Fridlington confirmed planning officers had closed the initial investigation in 2019 after concluding that while planning permission should have been sought for the two structures, it would most likely have been granted.
He added however: “It is my firm understanding that was on the basis that no further development was to take place.
“What is clear is the applicant’s not requested any further advice.”
Mr Fridlington reminded councillors that they needed to make their decision based upon the application in front of them, not what had previously taken place.
The application was approved with four councillors voting in favour and three against, with Coun Clifton requesting that his vote against it was recorded.