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Newhall Primary School told to pay £4,000 for horse removal
A Bradford primary school plagued by up to 20 rogue horses ripping up its community sports pitch claims it has been told it faces paying £1,300 to have each animal removed.
Staff at Newhall Primary School in Bierley complained to Bradford Council after a number of horses strayed onto its land over the Christmas holiday, churning up ground and leaving a mess, but say they were told the school would be expected to pay the authority’s contractor to have them taken away.
Sharon Barker, parental involvement officer, said a Council officer told the school that while the authority owns the pitch, which it rents to Dudley Hill Rangers Football Club, it comes under the school’s jurisdiction and recommended it pay out to have “two or three removed as a deterrent”.
“When I heard it, I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “We are a school and we don’t have the budget to pay out £4,000 to have three horses removed.
“Everywhere we go, it seems people think it’s not their problem.”
Last October, the Telegraph & Argus reported how the school was appealing for help to remove a group of loose horses which have caused disruption at various times over 18 months.
Staff said they were concerned for the health and safety of their pupils after only this week two horses were found roaming in the car park and in areas where children walk into the grounds.
Mrs Barker said the situation did improve for some time, but someone had cut through metal fencing to create a padlocked gate.
“The police have been out and are investigating it as criminal damage. We’re going to have it welded together, so hopefully that will help,” she added.
Members of Dudley Hill Rangers FC, which has youth and adult teams, say it has been forced to cancel a number of matches because the pitch is not safe to play on because of the horses.
Gary Broadhead, whose 19-year-old son Joe plays for Saturday and Sunday sides, said a team of volunteers had been to the pitch on Saturday to clean up, but found 15 horses and a donkey on the field.
“We don’t know where to turn to. We are trying to build up the club, not just for the football team, but for the community. There’s a shortage of football pitches in the Bradford area anyway.
“We’ve cleaned things up for the time being, but we don’t know if they’re going to come back or not, or if we’ve been wasting our time. It’s so frustrating having to do it every week.”
Last year, the Council, West Yorkshire Police and Incommunities launched a crackdown on rogue horses, with owners who leave their animals loose or tethered to council, housing association or public land facing eviction from their homes, court injunctions or the removal of their horses.
John Major, assistant director for environmental health and regulatory services, said: “The school have been advised that the Council employs a contractor and arrangements can be made to use them to impound horses from their land.
“But as the school hold the budget for maintenance of the land, it is their responsibility to fund this. They have been advised of the approximate costs of impoundment and the way to access this service. To date we have not received a request for this service.”