Plans to open a horse riding centre in the heart of the Lake District have been quashed. David Rivera, formerly known as David Gill, had previously shelved the plans after a deluge of complaints was received from members of the public. However, he later resubmitted the plans to open the riding centre at Windsor Farm in Wasdale in August 2019. These have now been rejected by the Lake District National Park Authority due to concerns over erosion to the nearby bridleway and an increase in traffic in the area.

Rivera was the head of the notorious South Lakes Safari Zoo from 1994 until 2017. He is no stranger to rejection from local authorities, as he was refused a licence in March 2017 to run the zoo following a spate of deaths at the zoo. South Lakes Safari Zoo gained infamy after it was found that almost 500 animals had died there of causes such as emaciation and hypothermia in the between late 2013 and 2016. Amongst the tragic deaths was an African spurred tortoise who died of electrocution after coming into contact with electric fencing. The decomposing body of a squirrel monkey was also discovered behind a radiator.

Freedom for Animals’ Director, Sam Threadgill, said;

We welcome the news that these plans for a horse riding school have been rejected by the Lake District National Park Authority. The shocking events at South Lakes Safari Zoo continue to raise serious concerns for the welfare of animals currently under Rivera’s care.

Although the plans for a horse riding school have been rejected, Rivera has been allowed to construct a manège on the basis that it is not used for any commercial riding.