AMBITIOUS new plans have been unveiled to expand the activities of one of the country’s leading equine welfare charities, near Burnley.

And bosses at Briercliffe-based HAPPA – the Horse and Pony Protection Association – say they are crucial as part of their work to rehabilitate and rehouse hundreds of animals each year.

Proposals include a new visitor centre and an extension to the indoor arena at Shores Hey Farm, as well as an improved isolation and assessment unit.

Equine experts say that by providing a purpose-built isolation bay, with an exclusion zone and washdown facilities, they can prevent the spread of disease at the Halifax Road site.

The new visitor centre would be located where the crew barn now stands. A new reception area and offices would also be created.

Other developments pencilled in as part of a planning application made to Burnley Council include a second-hand tack shop, replacement crew barn, machinery store, garage and upgraded haylage and field shelters. Part of the new indoor arena will provide a heated viewing room, show office and storage, enabling greater freedom during training workshops and open days.

Charity chief officer Kay Brandist said in a supporting statement: “The proposed redevelopment of Shores Hey Farm will provide the charity with a first-class facility in which it can operate its rescue and rehabilitation efforts from, while the visitor centre will hopefully lead to an increased trading income which will help secure the long-term future of the charity.”

The charity aims to segregate horses or ponies for up to 21 days, to assess their physical and mental condition but is hampered by lack of space.