Belvoir Hunt opponents quiz councillors
Opponents of the Belvoir Hunt Boxing Day meet quizzed leading South Kesteven councillors over their support for the annual Grantham event.
The councillors found themselves to be the prey at Thursday’s full meeting of South Kesteven District Council.
The debate followed growing opposition to the traditional gathering of the Belvoir Hunt in recent years, which has seen protesters attend to voice their anger.
Last year, Mayor of Grantham Councillor Lynda Coutts declined to welcome the hunt, as is mayoral tradition.
Riders, horses and hounds were moved to The Paddock, off St Catherine’s Road, for the first time last year, instead of being allowed to gather on St Peter’s Hill.
At the full council meeting, opponent Chris Noon quizzed SKDC deputy leader Kelham Cooke about an interview he gave to the BBC saying organisers had ‘thought it better’ to stage this year’s event at The Paddock.
He also asked about the event management, risk assessment of the event and related matters.
Coun Cooke replied applications to hold events on St Peter’s Hill are determined on an individual basis and he would happily meet with Mr Noon to discuss his concerns and show documentation about risk assessments.
Katie Burris, of Grantham, cited court cases involving hunt members and a Buckminster estate gamekeeper, and quizzed Coun Linda Wootten, a member of the town charter trustees, if she considered the “reputational damage caused to Grantham town by inviting and defending the Belvoir Hunt?”
Coun Wootten replied she was very proud of events in Grantham and added: “I did not disrespect this town at all.”
Ms Burris also asked cabinet member for finance Coun Adam Stokes how much money was raised for charity by hunt collectors and asked if the event had cost SKDC.
Coun Stokes said the collection raised £177.63 for charity. There was no cost to the council and the hunt paid for a clean-up afterwards, he said.
But Ms Burris said Freedom of Information requests had shown SKDC paid for the clean-up, leading Coun Stokes to say he was told Belvoir Hunt
She added: “I would like to see the receipts.”