Gloucestershire

Beaufort Hunt banned from council land for New Year's Day Hunt

Beaufort Hunt Image copyright PA
Image caption The Beaufort Hunt used to meet at Tetbury Rail Lands for its New Year's Day hunt

A leading hunt is being forced to find another site after being banned from meeting on council-owned land for health and safety reasons.

The Duke of Beaufort's Hunt in Gloucestershire has met on 1 January at the Tetbury Rail Lands for the past 20 years.

But Tetbury Town Council members voted on Wednesday to stop the hunt from meeting there.

Hunt members have described the decision as "short-sighted".

The council said its decision was based on concerns over the narrowness of the land and contact between pedestrians, dogs and horses.

A council spokesman said: "Whereas the Rail Lands were previously rough open ground, they have recently been developed into attractive parkland with the Goods Shed Arts Centre as a focus for community activity.

"As a result of that development, the nature of the site on which the hunt meets has changed, although the hunt activity has not."

'Reputational damage'

In a statement the hunt claimed the council was influenced by anti-hunt activists who "put undue pressure on some council members under the guise of Health and Safety".

The council admitted it was "conscious of the reputational damage associated with public protests and the risk of disorder".

The council spokesman admitted that it was "also aware of the National Trust's experience of reputational damage following its decision to allow a hunt to meet on one of its properties".

The Beaufort Hunt said it is in the process of finding a new town centre site.

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