Pony stables get seal of approval from officials

Fun day at Two Oaks Pony Sanctuary, Northchurch.  Blacksmith James Elliott, right, and his apprentice Stephen Harte
Fun day at Two Oaks Pony Sanctuary, Northchurch. Blacksmith James Elliott, right, and his apprentice Stephen Harte

A pony sanctuary whichwas threatened with closure because its stables were of ‘poor appearance’ has successfully rebuilt the block after raising £10,000.

The Two Oaks Pony Sanctuary, based in Darrs Lane, Northchurch, was told by council officials that the stable block would have to be knocked down and rebuilt so that it would fit in with the Green Belt surroundings.

It was feared that the horse rescuecharity, run by devoted animal-lover Carolann Buchorski, would have no choice but to close after it was revealed the work would cost in excess of £10,000.

At the time, Carolann said: “I am not doing anyone any harm. I am not here to make any money. It is a home for abandoned animals and saves the taxpayer money.”

Now, two years later, the brand new stable block re-opened after public donations and a five-month building project which saw local tradesmen, families and fellow animal lovers rally round to make the ponies’ dreams a reality.

Planning officers from Dacorum Borough Council paid the yard a visit on Thursday to inspect the new stables, which were found to be within the building regulations.

Carolann, who also cares for goats, chickens and pigs that have been mistreated, said: “People have been joking that the horses have gone from rags to riches, but the council are pleased with the stables and it means we can stay open.

“I want to say a big thank you to everyone who volunteered their time to make it happen.

“We had builders, plumbers, electricians, local families and even a firemen come up to help with the work.

“Without our supporters it would simply not be possible and we will be forever grateful.”

Phillip Stanley, planning enforcement officer at Dacorum Borough Council, said: “We are happy with the appearance of the new stable buildings which are in accordance with the approved planning drawings.

“We originally took action against the previous ad-hoc stable buildings which were of poor appearance, and we gave Ms Buchorski an extended two-year period to either find a new site or to submit an application for better quality stables.

“We worked with her to come to this solution.”

For more information, search ‘Two Oaks Pony Sanctuary’ on Facebook, email twooaksponysanctuary@gmail.com or call 01442 300872.