ONE of Scotland's leading riding centres for the disabled is to shut after a legal battle with its landlord.
Bannockburn Riding for the Disabled Association (BRDA) will close on August 14 and is currently only open to allow clients to say goodbye to its horses.
The charity - a centre of excellence for the whole of Scotland - had hoped to fight a notice to quit its home in Sauchieburn near Stirling after a bitter dispute over who is responsible for maintaining its access road.
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In a statement to clients, BRDA blamed its decision on the growing danger posed by the fast-deteriorating road, which makes it impossible for many of its riders to get to the facilities.
The statement said: "After very difficult and emotional discussions, the board has reached the decision that the situation is untenable. BRDA will have to move from Sauchieburn Centre and all activities here will therefore cease with effect from 14 August 2014. Our staff have been advised of this decision and what it means for them.
"We stress this does not mean the end of a local Riding for the Disabled group. We are totally committed, as we know you want us to be, to continue our vital work and preserve the exceptional spirit of warmth and expertise which has made this centre so acclaimed for the last 20 years. What has been built here is too special to be destroyed."
The centre said that in the short term it was drawing up a scheme to ensure its riders had access to riding centres in the local area, and in the longer term it was formulating plans to create a new RDA Equestrian Centre of Excellence in the Stirling area.
The statement continued: "We understand how important the Sauchieburn Centre has been to so many of you over so many years, and we are desperately sorry to have this decision forced upon us.
"However, with your continued support, Riding for the Disabled in this area will emerge stronger and in even better shape than it was. We are committed to ensuring that the organisation will rebuild for the sake of those who matter so much to us: our riders, drivers, staff, helpers, volunteers - and, of course, our horses."
The charity accused its landlord, Bill Roddie, of effectively blocking access to its stables by digging out pothole repairs and putting down boulders to prevent visitors driving around them.
He has refused to comment but is believed to be marketing part of his estate.