Horse owners are ‘sick’ at state of council-owned field

Linda Melvin and her horses at East Lea, Newbiggin.'REF 2407140396
Linda Melvin and her horses at East Lea, Newbiggin.'REF 2407140396

Horse owners in Newbiggin have hit out at the council at the state of paddocks they say are not suitable for their animals.

Concerns have been raised about a horse site in East Lea in the town, which owners say is unacceptable for the amount they pay.

Linda Melvin, who keeps two horses, says they have had enough of waiting for Northumberland County Council to carry out the necessary work to upgrade facilities.

She told the News Post Leader how she and other owners have been waiting over a year for water to be provided.

“We are just sick at the state of the field,” she said.

“We were told we were going to get a water supply and it’s nearly been a year.

“We are having to carry water in buckets, it’s ridiculous.

“People are throwing rubbish in and we have to go in and clear it up as no one else is.”

Linda says other horse owners have joined her in complaining to the council, but the conditions are yet to improve.

“I told the council that there’s a stallion on the other side of the fence but the fences needed to be heightened as he would be straight across there, and now my horse has got a foal due next month,” she added.

“We pay £42.50 a month and we’re not getting what we are paying for.”

Coun Ian Swithenbank, the council’s portfolio member for streetcare and environment, said: “It was made clear in November 2013 that water would be the responsibility of the owners and additional feed as needed, as they had always done when the animals were tethered in various locations.

“The suggestion of providing mains water supply was made by a horse owner during a site visit but this was researched and it was discounted because it was considered not cost effective.

“The council did, however agree to provide a large-capacity water trough to each site which would mean the horse owners didn’t have to carry water so often. There was a delay in sourcing but I am assured that a suitable water trough has been procured with the assistance of Animal Welfare and is about to be installed.

“We are aware of the other issues and concerns, and the area is checked regularly for the accumulation of rubbish/fly tipping etc. which is dealt with accordingly.

“There was a complaint that a loose stallion off the Newbiggin Moor had jumped the paddock fence and “serviced” a mare in the East Lea Paddock.

“We did discuss raising the height of the fences as a result of this incident but this is not financially viable, particularly taking into account the amount the council has spent on repairs to both sites as a result of numerous incidents of criminal damage.”