Millionaire's row over race stable

A MILLIONAIRE football agent who spent hundreds of thousands of pounds expanding his Doncaster racing stables before obtaining planning permission could be forced to tear the new facilities down.

Doncaster Council refused retrospective consent for Willie McKay to retain a 5,500 sq ft stables block, horse walker exercise area and lunge ring - striking a blow against his hopes of establishing "the best stables in the north of England".

Members of the borough's planning committee deemed the Scotsman's development was "inappropriate within the green belt", after hearing claims by neighbours Andy and Marilyn King that the stables had "invaded privacy".

But Mr McKay, who represents Premiership stars such as Joey Barton and Henri Camara, and Ross McCormack, on loan at Doncaster Rovers, is hoping to overturn the decision by submitting a fresh planning application to retain the facilities at Martin Grange, north of Bawtry.

Mr and Mrs King said they were "very pleased".

During the meeting of the planning committee, they said: "The applicant has changed it from a residential property to a business training race horses.

"He doesn't seem to care about the neighbours' privacy or the impact on nearby residents.''

The decision by Doncaster Council's planning committee was made despite a recommendation by planning officer Gareth Stent to approve Mr McKay's development.

He said: "The proposal has a neutral impact on the openness of the green belt and is not considered to significantly harm the amenities of the adjoining residential properties."

Mr Stent pointed out Government guidelines, supported the scheme.

His report said the stables was on a site previously occupied by a barn "of similar proportions", and "did not cause significant harm" to the green belt.

Mr McKay, who has moved into Martin Grange from Monaco with his wife and two sons, said the facilities were part of a 1.3 million investment employing seven people and accommodating up to 45 horses.

He said: "The council is making decisions which could cost people their livelihoods. If you employ planning officers you should listen to them.''

His new application is to be considered later in the year. If that is also turned down, he will have three months to appeal, or must remove the new facilities.