Northumberland County Council to provide horse sites in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea

Council bosses are to provide two horse sites in a coastal town in a bid to tackle unauthorised grazing

Linda Melvin from Newbiggin with horse Goldie and foal Prince
Linda Melvin from Newbiggin with horse Goldie and foal Prince

Council bosses are to provide two horse sites in a coastal town in a bid to tackle unauthorised grazing.

Northumberland County Council has announced plans to provide authorised sites in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, while planning has also begun for a further one at Ashington.

Both communities have been at the centre of complaints over numbers of horses grazing without permission.

The new sites aim to tackle the problem, though one horse owner says the price of grazing on the land could be prohibitive.

The sites are part of a crackdown on irresponsible horse ownership in south east Northumberland, which the council says has lead to some horses running loose or being abandoned, and others causing problems after being tethered without permission on public land.

Earlier this year an emaciated and distressed pony had to be put to sleep by a vet after being found collapsed on wasteland in Newbiggin.

The issue has previously been raised in the House of Commons by Wansbeck Labour MP Ian Lavery.

The council has now said it will be offering horse grazing licences to identified owners in Newbiggin for the paddocks at East Lea and Store Farm.

Availability and space are said to be “extremely limited” and owners are advised to apply as soon as possible for an annual licence costing £520, £10 per week, per animal. Discounted rates and payments options will be available.

The fee will cover the licence only with the owner or keeper responsible for providing water and any additional food.

Applications will only be considered for mares and geldings, as stallions will not be permitted on sites.

The council expects the new paddocks will open in early November.

Planning has also begun for another site in Ashington.

Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of the council, said: “We are making real progress with our community partners to combat this problem.

“I would urge horse owners to take up this offer of grazing their animals legally on authorised sites, or the consequences could prove to be quite expensive.”

Linda Melvin, who lives in East Lea, had three horses in the council-owned field next to the housing estate.

She was one of a group of animal owners ordered by the authority to remove them in July.

Last night, Ms Melvin said the council was not proposing to allow enough animals on the sites, and claimed it was asking too much money.

“I have got two horses, that is over £1,000. It has got to be less. There is some people will not be able to afford it.”

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