AN animal lover has told of his frustration after one of his horses gave birth to a new foal in a shelter he has been ordered to demolish.
Pensioner Norman Keenleyside built the shelter for his five Welsh cobs and four Shetland ponies on green-belt land off Follingsby Lane, West Boldon, without first applying for planning permission.
South Tyneside Council issued an enforcement notice calling for it to be flattened because it was in breach of planning regulations.
Mr Keenleyside appealed against that decision, but the Planning Inspectorate ruled in favour of the local authority.
The 68-year-old now has until September to dismantle the structure or he will face enforcement action.
In the early hours of yesterday morning, in teeming rain, one of his mares gave birth inside it, and Mr Keenleyside believes that new arrival is a good example of why the shelter is needed.
He has been told that the ruling by Government planning inspector Susan Wraith that the box-like shelter was “incongruous in a rural setting” still stood, however.
Mr Keenleyside: “I am just banging my head against a brick wall.
“The mare gave birth inside the shelter, and the foal is doing fine. I have another two mares in foal. Where will they give birth when the shelter is not there?
“At the end of the day, it is the horses that are going to suffer.
“I don’t want to wage war on anyone. I just want a bit of common sense to prevail.
“In some parts of the country, you can get around planning regulations by getting mobile shelters that are not classed as buildings, but I’m told I would need planning permission even for one of those.
“Horses are in my blood, and I would do anything to protect them, but this appears to be out of my hands.”
Mr Keenleyside added that he is praying for a mild winter to ensure his animals don’t suffer without the shelter.