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Issue:- Saturday, 05 September 2015

Beechley Riding Centre future secured

A popular riding school for the disabled is set to expand at a new site thanks to a deal with Liverpool City Council.  The local Merseyside authority has been working with Beechley Stables Riding for the Disabled Association, to find them a new site, as their existing home on Harthill Road in Allerton is set to be sold.  The organisation, which provides therapy to more than 70 disabled children and adults each week and has a waiting list, was originally operated by the City Council when it opened in 1985, but last year was transferred to a local charity. 

On Friday, 4 September 2015, the Council's Cabinet will be asked to agree a new 3 year lease, at their current location, during which time arrangements will be finalised to move them to the new preferred location at Clarke Gardens; next to Allerton Hall.  The proposal will bring back into use an historic former stable and other buildings including a glasshouse, and reduce the Council's maintenance costs and liability.  Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:- "Beechley Riding Stables is a much loved and extremely valuable community organisation which makes an incredible difference to the lives of disabled people.  Despite the financial challenges we face, we have been determined to find a way of giving them a sustainable future at a new site which also offers them the opportunity to expand their services.  I am pleased we have been able to identify a site located nearby which is absolutely ideal and will also restore the former stables buildings and become a feature at Clarke Gardens."

The City Council will help with the costs of relocation and setting up the new site, with a Heritage Lottery bid being made to fund the cost of restoring the buildings; estimated at £1.2 million; with any shortfall made up from the sale of the existing site. Victoria Evans, Beechley Riding Stables Centre Manager, said:- "Everyone at Beechley Riding Stables is really excited about the project and the chance to design and create a purpose built site. This move will allow us to maximise the quality and quantity of our service to disabled children and adults in the local area as well as creating a long term sustainable future for the charity."

The site will include an indoor arena, enclosed viewing area and disabled toilets, together with a possible outdoor arena, grazing area, stable for 10 horses, storage space, office, staff facilities and car parking.

A team of conservation volunteers based at Clarke Gardens, who grow plants for local schools, would remain on site with the potential to bid for funding to expand their work. Neil McMahon from The Conservation Volunteers, said:- "This is an excellent opportunity for The Conservation Volunteers, Beechley Riding Centre and Liverpool City Council to work together to bring back into use the buildings and gardens that are so loved and remembered by so many people in Liverpool, again, giving people a chance to visit the site in the long term."

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