Riding charity completes purchase of stables after £1.3m emergency fundraising campaign

Park Lane Stables had to move out of its long-term home after initially being unable to purchase the property, but has since been able to complete the deal

Park Lane Stables (Photograph: Colin Stout)
Park Lane Stables (Photograph: Colin Stout)

A charity providing horse-riding opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people has completed the purchase of its stables after raising more than £1.3m in a celebrity-backed campaign to save it from eviction.

Park Lane Stables in Teddington, south-west London, launched an emergency fundraising appeal earlier this year after being told the lease on its stables would not be renewed unless it raised the £1m asking price for the property.   

The crowdfunding appeal raised £1.3m after featuring on the BBC Breakfast TV show and attracting support from celebrities including Rob Brydon and Rory Bremner – but the charity, which is part of the Riding for the Disabled Association network, was forced to move out in June after three separate valuations of the property found it to be worth less than the asking price.  

At the time, PLS said it could not legally overpay for the property, because charity law stated that charities must pay a fair or discounted price for land and properties, compared with similar properties on the market.

But following a lengthy legal process, the charity has bought the property, completing the purchase this week.

A spokesperson for the charity told Third Sector: “We paid just over £1m for the property, which, after a long period of further investigations of the value of a very individual building, we felt comfortable that we could pay and be within charity law.”

The charity is operating out of nearby Manor Farm Stables in Petersham and plans to take the opportunity to refurbish the Park Lane site to improve its accessibility before returning. 

The refurbishments will include a wall in which each brick is sponsored by a supporter, which PLS said in a statement would be “a lasting legacy of this year’s tumultuous events”. 

In a statement, the charity said: “Teddington has been our home for 13 years, and we are now returning as the proud new owners of Park Lane Stables. 

“The legal process proved far more complex than we could have anticipated  but we never gave up, and any frustration we may have felt has been swept aside by jubilation. 

“This year is ending with the only Christmas present any of us wanted.”

The charity, which provides 3,000 sessions of therapeutic riding and carriage-driving for adults and children with disabilities each year, may also be able to expand its activities in the future, the spokesman said.

Natalie O’Rourke, manager of PLS, said: “The Park Lane site in Teddington has been a stables for over 200 years, and thanks to our amazing supporters it will now stay that way.

"We’re so grateful to our immediate neighbours and local community for their steadfast support, which has truly sustained us on our journey.

"Thank you to the incredible team of volunteers and trustees whose tenacity and optimism means we can continue to share the magic of horses with those who need it.” 

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