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Buoyant development of two new hunt kennels, jointly valued in excess of £1 million, stand as a “bricks and mortar” testament to the hunting fraternity’s determination to fight the ban.

The Bicester with Whaddon Chase is confident the Hunting Act will be overturned by the time its new kennels open — most likely in 2007.

The hunt has also unveiled a new name: Bicester with Whaddon Chase Hound Club.

The Cotswold Vale Farmers’ hunt has already moved into new kennels, set to be officially opened by Baroness Mallalieu on 30 October.

The Cotswold Vale Farmers’ previously shared a base with the Croome and West Warwickshire. It funded its new kennels via the purchase of 36 acres of land in Gotherington and the resale of 30 acres.

Joint-master Geoff Peters prefers not to divulge the cost of the development — kennels for 30 to 40 couple of hounds; a stable complex for five horses and a mobile home for staff — but he said the positive message it sent was invaluable.

“It’s a milestone in our continued fight against the ban and we have to keep going until the law is rescinded or overturned,” he said. “The Cotswold Vale Farmers’ plans to maintain its hounds, new kennels and infrastructure during this period of what is considered to be a temporary ban and, to this end, we will continue to operate within the law.”

Likewise, Bicester with Whaddon Chase Hound Club huntsman Patrick Martin said he was confident the ban was “going to be changed in the near future”.

Masters of Foxhounds Association director Alastair Jackson echoed the positive spirit: “The building of these kennels demonstrates the optimistic attitude of hunts and their determination that this unjust law will be overturned.”

  • This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (6 October 2005)

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