Man whose horses were evicted from a Bowthorpe park is ordered to move them again
- Credit: Geraldine Scott
Horses which were evicted from a riverside park in June are set to be moved again, after bailiffs issued a notice at their new home.
Leonard Jones, 69, has owned horses all his life but had to move some of his current team from Southern Park, in Bowthorpe, when Norwich City Council said they were harming biodiversity.
Mr Jones said after the first eviction, he was forced to have a friend help him walk all the horses and foals along the road to their new home in Mile Cross.
Now, Mr Jones, who lives on Swanton Road, has been told to move his 15 horses off a field next door to his house by Friday.
'They came overnight and put the notice up, they gave me two days to move the horses,' said Mr Jones.
But residents have hit back against the order, as they said families enjoy visiting and stroking the animals.
Patrick Burleigh who lives nearby said: 'Residents around here love the horses, and speaking personally they are a real addition to the environment.'
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Andy Steel, who lives off Dereham Road and walks his dog through the field, said he had lived in Norwich all his life and always remembered horses at the site.
And Toni Hassett, who also walks her dogs on the site, added: 'Local people bring their children down to see the horses, it's all part of coming for a walk.'
Mr Jones said not only was the eviction notice unfair, as he had had horses on the site for 17 years.
But he thought he was being discriminated against, as he said he hadn't been offered an alternative location.
But Norwich City Council said they had offered him an alternative.
Mr Jones added it wasn't possible to move the horses in two days, but if he didn't the council would take them away.
'I think it all boils down to prejudice,' Mr Jones said. 'I've got no idea what to do at the moment, I first came to Norwich on a horse drawn carriage.'
A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: 'We have been in talks with Mr Jones since May this year about the need to remove his horses and have offered him an alternative grazing site – subject to him providing all the necessary documents for the horses. Mr Jones doesn't have grazing rights to the land in question and in addition it is not suitable for animal grazing.
'The land where Mr Jones is currently grazing the horses has been earmarked for redevelopment as an extension of the existing traveller site, although this is still under consultation and not yet approved.
'If Mr Jones doesn't move the horses we will remove them and take to the vets for a check-up and to see if they are microchipped. The horses will be re-homed at animal sanctuaries if necessary.'