Cardiff Riding School ‘will stay open’ insists council

February 5, 2013 2 Comments »
Protesters outside City Hall last week campaigning against cuts to Cardiff Riding School.

Protesters outside City Hall last week campaigning against cuts to Cardiff Riding School.

Cardiff Riding School will remain open until a third party can be found to operate it, Cardiff council has insisted.

The draft budget states that the school, located at Pontcanna Fields for the past 42 years, will close so the authority can save £22,000.

The 14 full-time and 13 part-time staff were last week told their jobs are at risk, sparking protests outside City Hall, social media campaigns, a public meeting and a petition.

But, in a statement issued today, a council spokeswoman said: “We would like to clarify the situation in relation to Cardiff Riding School as we are aware there are concerns within the community.

“There has never been any intention to close the school and it will remain open until the council has secured a third party to operate the facility. Work is already underway to take these plans forward.

“We would also like to make it clear that there are no proposals to sell off the land associated with the school for future development and that Cardiff Riding School will remain in its current home.”

Riverside’s Labour councillor Iona Gordon said people and organisations were already coming forward with interest in an asset transfer or running the school as a social enterprise business.

About 150 people attended a public meeting on Monday night to organise a campaign against funding cuts to the riding school.

Liz Dance, who leads one of the stables’ four Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) groups, told the meeting they had provided riding lessons for disabled youngsters since 1977.

She said: “Hundreds have been helped over the years. One little boy does not get himself dressed any day of the week except Thursday, when he knows he’s coming to the riding school. We have a little girl who could not sit up – she can now sit up on her own and hold the reins.

“I went to City Hall and spoke to councillors, and the question that they asked me was what would happen to your group [if the stables were to close]? It would stop. That’s the end of it.”

Ideas were put forward for how the riding school could keep going, including running the stables as a trust or looking to a social enterprise model. But the majority expressed a wish to keep the school under council control.

Related Posts

2 Comments

  1. Twm February 6, 2013 at 2:08 am - Reply

    The council always intended for a third party to operate the riding school but produced a report clearly stating it would close. This could be responsible for the 'concerns within the community' the council has since become aware of.

  2. A Puzzled Teen February 17, 2013 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    I'm sorry, but I really cannot understand why this particular sporting facility is different from any other; it runs lessons every day but Monday, a day of rest for the hard working horses; including riding for the disabled, after school lessons, adult lessons, school-group lessons and special classes like stable management. It gives kids an outdoor activity and teaches respect for animals. It offers work experience and volunteer opportunities. It may not be as efficient as it can be, but it isn’t a “special case”.

    Leisure centres as a whole ran a deficit of £13 million. The riding school’s deficit was a tiny share of that. Can’t all of the seven leisure centres, the maindy pool, the riding school, the sailing centre, the international white water centre, and the sports stadium all make some savings and keep the riding school as part of the Council services?

Leave A Response