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Author Topic: Move Over Sara Beeny/George Clark.. The Farmers Are Coming!(Woodlands Farm)  (Read 64171 times)
« Reply #15 on: November 18, 2015, 12:40:00 PM »

...... or What works best for the Cllrs......... Lips sealed
Sr. Member
Posts: 297

« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2015, 11:19:03 AM »

Houses for Livery Stables??

A column in this weeks Advertiser on the Cookham page outlines clearly the problem
of maintaining a Livery yard at Woodlands Farm in Cookham Dean.

The statement claims that due to a decline in horse ownership; due to the many and varied
facilities available at other competitive venues; due to the topography of the site and due to
the dilapidated state of the buildings which no longer merit reinvestment ... it has become unviable
for Woodlands Farm to continue as a Livery Yard.

Now I'm no horse owner. Nor can I vouch for knowing about other yards offering competitive venues,
however, I have seen the buildings at Woodlands and they are dilapidated.

This issue therefore begs the questions  : 
Are the Simmonds Partnership really selling horse owners down the river here?
Would you (as a horse owner, for example) reinvest vast sums in a loss making venture just to appease other horse owners?
Would you not write this all off and sell up ... presumably there are no other horse mad buyers
for Woodlands who would run the venture anyway ... take the money and run?

I think it's time to be fair here and allow the Simmonds Partnership some say in what they, as
the owners in a loss making enterprise, do with their property.
Surely they have appeased horse owners for several years now, and it is time to quit??

Just my thoughts!
I hasten to add I have no attachment to nor any interest in, any party here - mine is just an honest observation!

« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2015, 12:16:38 PM »

Of course you could argue that a) Woodlands is not a competitive venue, it is a livery yard and as far as I am aware any events will have been organised by the liveries for their own amusement, and b) the buildings are in a state because the Simmonds have failed to keep up with maintenance requirements over the years.  There is a requirement for good livery facilities in the Cookhams and Simmonds could have one of the best if they put their minds to it.  With all the closures it won't be long before all that is left are the places in the floodplain and even they will have nowhere to go when the floods arrive if all the fields are being turned to gardens for grand houses.
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2015, 05:41:20 PM »

Buildings in a state?

Come-on . . . Pull the other wellie off!

What a load of tosh!

Roofs do NOT leak, it has sound flooring and walls, electric, water, electric fencing. There is nothing wrong with the farm!

Drainage has been dug across the fields . .  Farm machinery updated. The place is totally SOUND!

Someone is trying it on. This is NOT a run down farm, in fact, its better maintained than some houses in the village (soon to be a town).

Anyhow . .it will get planning. It will get pulled down. . .and it will be another talking point in years to come of 'who was stupid enough to allow it'?

Face it, these equine enthusiasts are keeping those Cookham fields green!

And watchmen . .  it saddens me to think for someone that could be counted on. . . You seem to think this is a good idea?.

This village is corrupt!
« Last Edit: November 19, 2015, 05:44:07 PM by jumpingjackflash » Logged
Jr. Member
Posts: 76

« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2015, 06:34:37 PM »

One thing to consider apart from the stables themselves are the 10 businesses currently running from the units on Woodlands farm that are both run by and employ local people. They would need to find alternative premises which are few and far between in this area. Having lived in other areas where commercial properties are turned in to residential the result tends to be that during the day the areas become ghost towns as everyone is forced to travel away to work only returning in the evenings.

I have been present at some conversations between business owners based at Woodlands farm and it would seem that the owner is attempting to pacify them by telling them that he is only applying for planning to get a valuation of the land with planning permission before handing it over to his son, therefore reducing their inheritance tax liabilities. Not sure if that works like CGT where your taxable liability is the difference between the value you bought at and the value you sell at?

It would be rather sad and also deceitful if the farm owner were spinning this yarn to lull them in to a false sense of security so that they don't object, only for them to be served notice to leave in the new year.

As has been said before in this chain, these are not affordable houses these will be very expensive ones, so it is all about generating the maximum amount of profit for the land owner with very little benefit to the local community!
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2015, 06:59:30 PM »

Thank you Merriman for taking the time to write a supportive thread. Even if planning is granted, your words have lifted my spirits that there are still some people that 'question' what's happening here to the local community.

I feel like a weight is hanging over me. 31 horses at Woodlands, 36 at Lee Farm, 11 remaining at Cannon Court . . and no available DIY Locally . .

Where do all the locals move their equine pets to?

Yards in Windsor, Maidenhead, Holyport and Bournend have long waiting lists .

Do we (like the hunting community) finally give up and have our horses destroyed . . because they are not " Competition" animals, but hairy happy hacking pets.

Its so sad that we lose our little bit of 'Downton Abbey' from the Dean.

« Last Edit: November 19, 2015, 07:04:29 PM by jumpingjackflash » Logged
Sr. Member
Posts: 297

« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2015, 09:43:14 PM »

And watchmen . .  it saddens me to think for someone that could be counted on. . . You seem to think this is a good idea?.

On the contrary JJF, I'm neither for nor against the proposal involving Woodlands Farm.
All I was doing was highlighting the phraseology used by the Symmonds Partnership as quoted in the Advertiser.
Perhaps I  was playing devil's advocate in firing up a discussion by quoting the "other" side of the spectrum.

Either way, my point is perfectly clear.

Why don't the horse owners/riders all club together to buy out Symmonds?
Perhaps a wealthy equine party can splash the cash to lock-in Woodlands Farm's future?

I don't know the answers ... all I can say is that Symmonds has probably run his course with Woodlands
and has now, perhaps in retirement, taken the opportunity to call it a day by selling up.
The inheritance tax gig mentioned by Merriman makes sense to a certain extent...
Whether this is followed up with a withdrawal of the proposal to build is another matter altogether.

Frankly, in my honest opinion, and to be perfectly frank - I really don't see that Symmonds owes anyone anything.
He's been a stalwart to horse owners for an awfully long time.

Check out White Place Farm.
Once stables, now a living complex with barn conversions!
What happened there is now perhaps being contemplated by Woodlands.
Who knows ... December 4th will determine the outcome.
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2015, 07:40:04 AM »

Watchmen, really . . I've laughed so much at your comment, re all horse riders clubbing together to buy Woodlands.

You happy to donate a few million then to a worthwhile cause?

Your missing the point . . .

These are not Competition Horses . . the owners are not wealthy people, nor indulged spoilt brats. If they were wealthy, then perhaps they would be rubbing their hands and already putting offers in on the proposed building plots!

Yes, I understand why the Simmonds partnership would want to develop, who wants to run a business in this day and age. BUT what about morals and future generations? What about the impact to Cookham itself. Sadly everything is being corroded  away at the edges.

I will be watching on which Cllrs support this application, as they will not be getting my vote in the future.

Sr. Member
Posts: 297

« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2015, 09:32:01 AM »

  BUT what about morals and future generations?

When an owners' business is losing money, who, other than those immediately affected, considers
it the moral obligation of the owner to continue, ad infinitum, to provide the services that said
loss making business offered in the past ??!

Let's just say, for arguments sake, that Symmonds hiked up his charges to horse owners by
100 percent to cover the running costs of his loss-making business.

Would that appease the horse owning clientele?
I very much doubt it somehow!
They'd rightly be up in arms about the rise in fees!
So who then foots the bill .... so that he "fulfils his obligation" to appease horse owners who,
for their part, don't want change whilst wanting to ensure service as usual ?!

It's kinda heads he loses and tails the horse owners win, don't you think?
Posts: 29

« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2015, 09:35:40 AM »

I so agree with you JJF - I too find Watchmans comments about dilapidated buildings way off the mark! The buildings are very well maintained and in fact some have been built in the last 10 years and are very smart! In my view they are better than most of the yards round here and I happen to know most of them.
Jr. Member
Posts: 76

« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2015, 10:12:13 AM »

As stated in my previous post there seems to be little consideration for the 10 small businesses that will need to relocate if the proposals go ahead. Also there must be around 100k of income right there that I haven't seem mentioned in previous posts referencing the financial situation with the farm. These businesses also contribute to the daytime Cookham economy by using local shops and restaurants.

This case does not directly affect me so I am not about to enter into yet another planning battle but I notice on the planning application that there is only one objection from a member of the Cookham community siting the village plan. I also notice from the planning website that the Parish council intend to look at the application during their meeting next Tuesday the 24th. and a local planning decision is expected by the 4th December. So if anyone wants to do anything about it they had better be quick!

The planing application can be viewed here:

Sr. Member
Posts: 297

« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2015, 11:18:04 AM »

Like Merriman, I too have absolutely no axe to grind on this issue.

I just feel that, rightly or wrongly, if a company claims continuing losses and backs this up
with proof through financial statements and accounts, then, other than those
directly affected by the closure, who can then, hand on heart, blame the owners from closing down said
yard/farm/company/plant/business ?

Unless this claim is disputed with counter submissions proving otherwise, then I honestly
feel that those persons who consider themselves hard done by the closure take a closer look at the
broader picture, leaving aside "morals and future generations", and regretfully accept the inevitable.

Or else do something about the situation by buying out said loss making company/business in order to maintain
its' existing lifestyle, as I, honestly, do not feel that it is a God-given right of others to dictate direction or course
of said loss making company purely to satisfy their own means to the detriment of others - viz., the owner.

My argument here is a million miles away from that which I hold against A.N.Other landowner in these parts who
blatantly sells off prime green-belt land which is not a loss maker, in order to achieve vast profits benefitting
only himself, whilst claiming the sale is purely to "benefit society".

It is however interesting to note, per Merriman's post, that there is only one objection to the Woodlands revamp.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2015, 11:19:46 AM by Watchman » Logged
« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2015, 12:41:23 PM »

Watchman - I'm not getting into a ''heated debate'' with you.. as frankly, you seem to be having fun just shooting random comments from the hip.

To clarify - IF the Simmonds Partnership was having to put in for planning permission because the farm was no longer a viable business, then of course fair play.

The Farm is very well maintained, and does not give off an vibe of being run down. It even employees an Estate Manager as an 'Odd-Job' man on a very good wage. If your business is failing, then you look at what you can do yourself, in other words, cut the slack out.

This is not a failing business,its a professional business, and IF the Simmonds Partnership wishes to raise the DIY Livery Charge, then I am sure the equine owners would support this in order to stay. For what the farm offers, NOTHING within a 50 minute drive can beat it.


Anyhow - I don't know why I'm wasting my breath, this is going to get approved anyhow, no matter what this discussion thread says.

« Last Edit: November 20, 2015, 12:55:25 PM by jumpingjackflash » Logged
Sr. Member
Posts: 297

« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2015, 01:54:10 PM »

JJF - nor do I want to elaborate the debate - and certainly, for my part, it is definitely not heated!! 
And trust me, my points are not random and are certainly not shot from the hip.
They focus on the reality of the situation not on speculation as to how people "gauge" Woodlands Farm
through its appearance rather than factually via documentation!

Do you know for certain that the Simmonds group are NOT losing money in the farm, despite the farm "looking good"?
Why haven't the equine owners not already approached him to offer a higher livery to off set his losses?
Why has the situation got so far down the line without any effort on either's part ('cept Simmonds who has put in
for planning permission for the site) to seek a solution?
If, as you say, this is a done deal, then the equine owners have nothing to fear about being 'kicked off' the farm
for objecting to the plans!
And why is there only one objection to the Plan?

As you so rightly say -

IF the Simmonds Partnership was having to put in for planning permission because the farm was no longer
a viable business, then of course fair play

Anyway, I repeat I have no axe to grind here ... I just feel a tad confused as to why so much  vitriol
is thrown at the owner, (based on pure speculation and oblique equine related opinion) of a loss-making farm
just because said owner wishes to achieve an alternate solution to alleviate his personal losses! 

Anyway, I hope that I've made my point and will now withdraw from the "heated debate" !!
Posts: 29

« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2015, 02:33:10 PM »

The problem is that there are a large number of untruths in the planning application and for my part this is what really irritates me the most. For example it refers to the 'redundant' buildings when in fact there are none. It refers to a 'declining livery yard' when it always has been and still is a thriving and vibrant yard with a waiting list. Then there is the criticism of the fantastic grazing; I could go on and on.

Everyone with a horse there has a pretty good idea of what income that generates based on what they spend. And it doesnt take a lot of nuance to gain an idea of the income from the business side either, but sadly I dont believe for one moment its part of the planning process for planners to pour over any financial statements to check out the truth. Its not about being in a loss situation, its about making a bigger pot! I find your comments very naive Watchman.

I certainly hope there are more objections to the planning application over the next few days. Certainly horse owners there feel they are between a rock and a hard place; object and get thrown off the yard with no where else to go and cant even give your ageing horse away. Draw your own conclusions.

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