A controversial Boxing Day hunt meet in a Herefordshire town is likely to go ahead this year, despite a 34,000-strong petition against it, and new evidence of lawbreaking within the hunt’s “country”.

The Ledbury Hunt has applied to Herefordshire Council as local highways agency to have the town’s High Street closed on 26 December, as in previous years, the council confirmed.

“If organisers of an event request a road closure and there are no operational justifications such as planned works or other events, then there are no legal grounds on which the council can refuse the request,” A council spokesperson said.

“Road closures are granted for safety and are not an endorsement of an event.”


The spokesperson added: “We expect all events to be compliant with the relevant national legislation, and any prohibited activity should be reported to the police.”

A petition launched two weeks ago calling on the council, and Ledbury Town Council, to oppose the meet has now reached 34,380 signatures.

The hunt had consulted with local businesses likely to be affected by the meet; “and as far as Ledbury Town Council is concerned they are satisfied that the Hunt have followed the process they were advised to do”, the town council’s representative said.

It later said that the subject “would not be on future council agendas”, but has arranged a “parish meeting” on January 25 at which it can be debated.

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A huntsman from a Leicestershire hunt has since been found guilty of foxhunting in Ledbury Hunt country in Gloucestershire, partly on the basis of incriminating text messages.

Ollie Finnegan was part of the Quorn Hunt’s joint meet with the Ledbury near Hartpury on January 7 – less than a fortnight after its joint hunt master David Redvers had told the previous Boxing Day meet that the hunt was committed to trail hunting, which is legal.

The Ledbury Hunt has been approached for comment.

Herefordshire Council confirmed it had also received, and granted, similar road closure applications in Kington and Leominster.

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