AN animal lover says he is devastated after being ordered to demolish a horse shelter he built after a two-year planning battle with council chiefs
Pensioner Norman Keenleyside built the shelter on green-belt land off Follingsby Lane, West Boldon, without first applying for planning permission in a bid to protect his five Welsh cobs and four Shetland ponies from winter weather.
An enforcement notice calling for it to be flattened because it was in breach of planning regulations and, despite Mr Keenleyside appealing the decision, the Planning Inspectorate ruled in favour of South Tyneside Council.
The 68-year-old said: “They have said my shelter will impact on the openness of the countryside.
“That’s all they care about and not the welfare of my horses, seven of which are pregnant.
“Now I have to pull it down and watch my horses suffer. It is very wrong. What kind of people make these decisions? It’s so cruel.”
Inspector Susan Wraith dismissed Mr Keenleyside’s appeal and ordered that the structure be demolished within six months.
In her report, Mrs Wraith said she the shelter adversely affected the character and appearance of the countryside and that its box-like design “adds to its incongruity within this rural setting”.
Mr Keenleyside says he will dismantle the shelter at the end of April.
He added: “I wake up at night now and worry. I just pray that it’s not going to be a bad winter, else my horses are going to suffer.”