Call for peaceful protest at Lion Gates, Belton House, in Grantham, after they are closed by National Trust
An angry resident is calling on others to take part in a peaceful protest outside the Lion Gates at Belton House, which have been closed by the National Trust.
Deborah Green, who lives near the gates on Belton Lane, wants walkers and dog owners who regularly used the entrance to the estate to come together and protest outside to show their anger against the trust.
Deborah, who regularly walked her dog through the gates, said: “Belton House was gifted to the National Trust. They did not pay for it. Local people had access through the gates when Lord Brownlow was there and now they have decided to stop local people from having access. I think that’s wrong.”
The National Trust said it has closed the gates following damage to the parkland and to keep visitor numbers “manageable”.
It has been suggested that the National Trust could open the gates at times when visiting hours are not busy or the house is closed. Deborah added: “It would not be unreasonable to allow us to go through at off-peak times and see if there are still incidents of anti-social behaviour.”
Anybody who would like to take part in a peaceful protest is asked to call Deborah on 07754 811113.
District councillor Linda Wootten, whose ward includes the Lion Gates, recently attended a meeting of Belton and Manthorpe Parish Council, which heard from the National Trust on the issue.
Coun Wootten said: “I utterly condemn all incidents of anti-social behaviour, but we are talking about a majority of law abiding residents who are really upset by being ‘locked out’ of the enjoyment of a beautiful park, to see the wildlife and take in the fresh country air.”
Another dog walker, Jim Smith, said he was born in 1948 and as a boy he used to visit the parkland through the gates.
Jim said: “It has been for locals to use for many years and as far as any damage caused, no damage has been done by locals. We should still be allowed to use the Lion Gates because it was promised to us when the house was given to the National Trust. I have a black labrador and always used to walk her through the gates.”
A spokesperson for the National Trust said: “Following the announcement of our plans for the Lion Gates at Belton, we are listening to the feedback that is coming through from the local community. We are considering many factors in this decision including conservation, anti-social behaviour and visitor experience, but we are absolutely open to hearing feedback and we’ll take that on board whilst we firm up our plans.”