Horse lover ordered to tear down animal shelter after losing planning battle

SHELTER ROW ... Norman Keenleyside.
SHELTER ROW ... Norman Keenleyside.
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A HORSE lover who has battled with South Tyneside Council for more than two years over an animal shelter dispute, has been told he must demolish the structure.

Norman Keenleyside built the shelter without planning permission on green belt land off Follingsby Lane, in West Boldon.

It was designed to protect his five Welsh cobs and four Shetland ponies from severe winter weather.

Constructed in timber panels which are painted black, the building has a box-like appearance. However, the council issued an endorsement notice calling for it to be flattened, because it was in breach of planning regulations.

Mr Keenleyside, 68, then appealed that decision to the Planning Inspectorate.

Now, inspector Susan Wraith has dismissed his appeal and ordered that the structure be demolished within six months.

In her report, Mrs Wraith did not find the shelter to be inappropriate for green belt land, but did conclude it effected the “character and appearance of the countryside”, and that its design “adds to its incongruity within this rural setting”. Her report adds: “Mr Keenleyside has drawn attention to the animal welfare considerations, and the desirability of providing shelter for the horses in adverse weather conditions.

“However, there is no suggestion that the retention of this building is the only way of providing for the animals’ welfare, and I am not persuaded on the matter of need.

“In my view this consideration is not sufficient substance to outweigh the identified harm to the character and appearance of the countryside.

“I conclude that the development is not sensitive to the open character of the surroundings and neither does it reinforce local identity.

“In terms of its siting, design and materials, it is harmful to the appearance and character of the countryside.

“For these reasons I conclude that the appeal should not succeed.”