Could single complaint be end of home for animals?

A politician has defended a pony sanctuary owner who says red tape is putting her animals at risk.

Two Oaks Pony Sanctuary in Northchurch is home to 13 ponies, 70 chickens, two pigs and other abandoned animals.

But Dacorum Borough Council has told owner Carol Houlihan that its stables are in the Green Belt without planning permission and must be removed within two years.

Northchurch Parish Council chairman Alan Fantham, who is also borough councillor for the area, said: “I would not even have bothered with it, frankly.”

He said just one person had complained about the stables, and because of this the borough council was obliged to take action.

He said: “It only takes one person. It takes an awful lot of people saying: ‘She’s doing a grand job. Leave her alone.’ She provides recreation for the young to help them get riding lessons.

“It is a useful thing to have that someone who loves animals is doing out of the kindness of her heart and putting her own money into it.”