An equestrian centre has been told it has no planning permission for its riding school despite having been licensed for four years and granted a planning appeal.

Business partners Steve Price and Gary Ryder began leasing land in Lyons Hall Road in 2008 to set up Braintree Equestrian Centre and a year later were granted a licence by Braintree Council to run a riding school.

In January 2012 they applied to install lighting in the menage and successfully appealed Braintree Council’s refusal of their plans.

In December last year Mr Price and Mr Ryder were told by Braintree Council that the original planning permission given in 2005 meant the manege, where all the lessons are held, was only for private use and could not be used for the riding school.

They estimate that the delay in installing lights has cost them about 30 lessons per week and this latest set back means they cannot be licensed or insured to be a riding school.

They say they cannot afford solicitors to recover the appeal costs or to apply to change the planning permission.

Mr Ryder, 50, said: “How can the council grant a licence and charge people to be there without having checked it?

“[Why did] the council submitted a 70 page document on why we couldn’t have lights when all they had to do was say there was no planning permission for the riding school.”

The pair will continue to run the livery yard under the name of Steve Price Equestrian and will offer other tuition services.

A Braintree Council spokesman said: “As separate regulatory functions it is not necessary to have planning permission in order to obtain a licence, but it the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that all the correct permissions are in place.

“Following a separate planning application the condition of use has come to light, and the lease holder has been informed of this.”

He added that the riding school can apply to over turn the planning condition but has said it will not be reapply for its licence.