Riding charity faces eviction despite raising enough to buy stables

Park Lane Stables, which is part of the Riding for the Disabled Association network, says its landlord has upped the price for the property it occupies after a high-profile fundraising campaign

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

A charity providing horse riding opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged people is facing eviction just weeks after raising more than £1.3m to stay in its current location.

Park Lane Stables in Teddington, Richmond upon Thames, has been served a notice of eviction from its existing site for the end of this month, when its lease expires.

The charity, which is part of the Riding for the Disabled Association network, launched an emergency fundraising appeal earlier this year after being told the lease on stables would not be renewed unless it raised the £1m asking price for the property.

The appeal raised £1.3m – which is the sum the landlord is now asking for, the charity said.

But the figure is in excess of three independent valuations of the property, according to the charity.

PLS said it had been told that the owner has received a higher offer on the property and that the eviction would be encorced unless the offer was matched.

PLS, which provides 3,000 sessions of therapeutic riding for adults and children with disabilities each year, said it could not legally overpay for the property.

It said charity law stated that charities must pay a fair or discounted price for land and properties, compared with similar properties on the market.

A request for an extension to the current lease was denied, according to the charity.

PLS said it would move to Manor Farm Stables in Petersham, in the same borough, on a temporary basis, while looking for a new location.

Ed Bracher, chief executive of RDA UK, said: “The priority here is to ensure that the disabled children and adults who benefit from Park Lane RDA’s activities can continue to do so.

“It is sad that the charity cannot remain at the original site, but we support its work to make sure it can secure an alternative venue from which to operate. This will ensure that it can continue to be a thriving and important local asset”.

A spokesperson for the trustees of Park Lane Stables said: “Our first concern is for the Park Lane Stables family and our horses. Thanks to the astonishing support of the public, we now have the means to secure the charity’s future and are now looking at alternative locations within the borough, to ensure we can maintain our RDA activities, keep accessibility easy for all our riders, and allow us to retain our colleagues and volunteers.

“We are confident we can do this, but sad we have to leave our current home, which looks set to signal the end of at least 200 years of horses in central Teddington.”

A spokesperson for the owner said: “We are acutely aware of the importance of the service provided by Park Lane Stables and the benefit of that work to the community.

“While we regret the personal circumstances that have forced us to seek new ownership for the stables, we will continue to work to seek an acceptable resolution for all parties involved, and remain committed to supporting the continued services on site while the situation is ongoing.”

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