Opera singer brings Arabian stud to Sussex

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original(2) SUS-151214-122533001
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An international opera singer is bringing her Arabian horse breeding stud home to Sussex.

Opera star Dame Josephine Barstow and her husband, opera director Ande Anderson, began Malthouse Arabians more than 30 years ago in the county. Josephine decided she wanted to specialise in breeding Egyptian Arabians and while singing in San Francisco she found her foundation filly, Maartrabbi (now 26.) The stud moved to South Devon but now Dame Josephine plans to re-establish it in its home county.

A planning application has been lodged with Wealden District Council to build a new Malthouse Arabians stableyard at Highlands Farm, Chiddingly.

The complex will comprise 32 stables, a feed store and integral yard. It will also contain accommodation for two grooms who are needed to manage foaling and oversee daily operations, a circular horse walker, a sand school in place of the original tennis court and new farm buildings for housing a suckler herd as well as fodder storage.

The 122 acre holding fronts Highlands Lane where the original modern farm and stable buildings were recently demolished. The relocation of the enterprise has already been accepted in principle under permission granted in 2014. Agricultural buldings have already been put up. Next comes the remainder of the complex.

In their report, planning officers say although this scheme is larger in scale it has a reduced footprint to that first approved. They cite the benefits brought to the community by such as a prestigious and internationally known business, It could also lead to a modest increase in employment and ensures listed buildings and farmland will be maintained.

There was one letter of objection from a neighbour who says the design is like a factory or warehouse and the larger build and increased number of horses will cause more run-off and potentially exacerbate flooding. But it has been earmarked for approval and officers say the development will enhance this part of the wider Low Weald landscape ‘with no increased adverse impacts on neighbouring properties, highway safety, trees, ecology or flood risk.’

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