THE landscape trumped the impact on people of an equestrian scheme near Owslebury.

Planners deemed that protection of the landscape in the South Downs National Park was most important than the objections of nearby residents.

So the barn and outdoor riding area should go on the part of Moris Farm, on Hurst Lane, near to other houses rather than away from the dwellings.

Lisa Booth, planning officer, told the planning committee of Winchester City Council, that the authority's landscape officer approved of the siting near to houses and the applicant had been advised to site it there. She recommended approval of the scheme.

But John Chapman, of Hurst Lane, told the committee: "We strongly believe the best siting of both the menage and stables to be in the south-west corner of the site. We don't accept the landscape arguments at all. While landscape is important the detrimental impact on our environment is more important."

Mr Chapman said the householders would be affected by noises, smell, insects and vermin.

The size of the barn, three and a half metres high, was such that he feared it would soon have a business rather than recreational use.

Cllr Paul Phillips, of Owslebury Parish Council said it had concerns. Owslebury has three commercial stables and 12 private concerns. Whilst supportive of riding establishments he said the siting of this one needed closer examination.

Alexandra Webb, planning consultant, said the applicant Dominic Holt competes at a national level and hopes to do so internationally and requires a large barn for up to eight horses.

Cllr Therese Evans, chairman of the committee, said: "I find this difficult. We can see this would be better away from the houses. We have been given advise and we (the committee) think differently. The South Downs National Park planning authority says all applications should be landscape-led.

"I'm minded to approve it, but it is with regret as I don't think this is the best place for the barn. I would have preferred the barn to have been in the south-west corner where the other stables are."

The committee approved the scheme by five votes to one, with one abstention.