COUNCIL ADMITS THAT CHESHIRE HUNTS HAVE NO PERMISSION FOR BOXING DAY MEETS – PUBLIC AT RISK OF INJURY?
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Following a recent Freedom of Information request to Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cheshire Monitors have learned that neither the Cheshire Hounds or Wynnstay hunts have ANY of the licences/permissions required to hold their Boxing Day meets this year (nor did they last year). Furthermore, there is no longer the time needed to get them in time for Boxing Day.
The Cheshire Hounds (AKA Cheshire Hunt) traditionally gather outside The Swan public house on Tarporley high street while the Wynnstay Hunt gather at the Cross monument on Malpas high street before heading into the nearby countryside to hunt. Under S16A of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (tinyurl.com/y3v94xmg) these events are classed as a sporting and/or social event.
Cheshire West and Chester Council state that such a social event would require 1) a Temporary Road Closure licence, 2) a Street Collection licence and 3) a Risk Assessment. We stress that these would be required by ANY other event organiser planning a similar event according to Cheshire West and Chester’s own guidelines (links listed below).
We’ve also been supplied with email conversations between a concerned local resident and a senior officer from Cheshire Police, which highlights how the Police are not proactive in responding to any of these breaches, as they are ultimately the responsibility of the Council, only offering to “negotiate” with those blocking the road in an attempt to move them on if called in to do so.
We recommend anyone view footage from last year’s Tarporley meet (here: https://bit.ly/2Yjs5pD) which illustrates our concerns that it is only a matter of time before a member of the public, potentially a child, is seriously injured at one of these unregulated and wilfully unlawful meets. *Who will be held responsible when this happens?*
Please take action by urging Cheshire West and Chester Council to put a stop to the hunts meeting in both Tarporley and Malpas high streets on Boxing Day. Ask them about…
❌ NO TEMPORARY ROAD CLOSURE LICENCE
Ask the Council how local people are expected to be able to go about their business when the hunts are blocking the main thoroughfare in both Tarporley and Malpas. (Council rules breached: https://bit.ly/34YhSBu)
❌ NO STREET COLLECTION LICENCE
Ask the Council why both hunts are allowed to collect money from members of the public in ‘charity donation’ buckets, despite neither being a charity and indeed – in the case of Cheshire Hunt – actually being a wealthy limited company. (Council rules breached: https://bit.ly/34NrZcA)
❌ NO RISK ASSESSMENT TO PROTECT PUBLIC
Ask the Council why the hunts aren’t made to submit the Council’s requirement of a Risk Assessment, despite a large number of horses and hunting dogs (additional breaches in relation to the Council’s own Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) on dog control: https://bit.ly/2ONOdFy) being in close quarters to large numbers of members of the public, including many small children. (Council rules breached: https://bit.ly/2rdIYWR)
We believe Cheshire West & Chester council need to address concerns about all the above, as there appears once again to be one rule for the hunts and another for everybody else.
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📣 TAKE ACTION
It’s time to stop the Boxing Day hunts in Cheshire.
You can contact the Leader of West Cheshire and Chester Council, Labour councillor Louise Gittins at firstname.lastname@example.org and their Director of Place Operations Maria Byrne at email@example.com. You may also like to ask the Community Safety Team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, you can also contact local Councillors for Tarporley and Malpas:
(N.B. We would recommend enquiring about personal support of hunting by any member of the Council you contact, as we are aware of hunt support within the organisation).