WORK is beginning on a new £3.7 million Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) national training centre at Shrewley near Warwick.
The charity, whose president is Princess Anne, uses horse-riding and carriage driving to provide therapy for 25,000 disabled children and adults.
The Lowlands Equestrian Centre, which has been used by 4 RDA groups for many years, will become the national centre for training riding coaches and other volunteers from across the country.
The charity’s chief executive Ed Bracher said there would be stables and grazing for 20 horses; indoor and outdoor arenas; training and conference facilities; and overnight accommodation and offices.
Mr Bracher said: “As a working yard with indoor and outdoor arenas it will provide an ideal environment for hosting practical training sessions, workshop and demonstrations, events and competitions and will be an inspirational venue in which to bring together, train and inspire RDA volunteers and coaches from around the UK.
“We currently work with thousands of people across 500 sites in the UK. To have national facilities is a big step for us. We are delighted that the council has supported us with planning permission and that we are going to be able to develop the facilities in this area,” he said.
Kevin Mitchell, a partner and commercial lawyer with Blythe Liggins Solicitors in Leamington, handled all the legal work relating to the acquisition, and said the new national centre would be complete by December next year.
He said: “The charity was granted planning permission in June and the final stage of the purchase was completed in August. A working group of RDA officers, architects and other advisers are now deciding on the next step regarding a phased development, including the demolition of existing equestrian buildings, the construction of new offices and the extension of the car park.”