Leeds man told to remove horses from Sugar Hill, Meanwood '“ or council will impound them

A man who has kept horses on grazing land in Leeds for decades has been told the animals will be impounded if they are not immediately moved.

Garry Chalders with Henry, one of the horses he keeps on Sugar Hill in Meanwood. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Garry Chalders says he has effectively acted as caretaker of the land on Sugar Hill in Meanwood, clearing up fly-tipped rubbish, removing ragwort and keeping the grass maintained.

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He said there had been no issues in that time and nobody from Leeds City Council had approached him to voice concerns, so he was stunned to find an enforcement notice fixed to a gate post last week.

It said all horses must be removed immediately or a firm acting for the council could impound them without warning.

Garry, 56, who lives in nearby Sugar Well Mount, said he was terrified that the horses would be taken, adding: “My horses mean the world to me.”

A friend has temporarily given a home to one, but a home is yet to be found for the second.

“I don’t really want to move him off the hill,” Garry said. “If I take him off there, then they’ve won the battle.”

He said the notice did not explain why action was being taken, and he remembered horses being there since he was a child.

“I’ve been like an unpaid caretaker for 35 years,” he said. “It’s a long time to be on the land and then all of a sudden this.”

A council spokesman said: “In line with the Control of Horses Act 2015, several enforcement notices have been issued at this location in recent years as it is a recognised fly grazing site. The owner of the horses is not known to the council so notices were left at the site, as is common practice.”

He said the council would be happy to meet with Garry to agree an acceptable removal date and there were a number of grazing sites for rent across the city that they would encourage him to consider.