Cottesmore Hunt’s traditional Boxing Day meet saved

  • The Cottesmore Hunt’s traditional Boxing Day meet in Oakham has been saved.

    The hunt has been meeting in the town on 26 December for at least 100 years.

    However, at a meeting on 25 November Oakham Town Council denied the hunt permission to hold the meet in its usual location of Cutts Close.

    Rutland County Council has now stepped in and given the Cottesmore permission to meet in one of its car parks.

    “Oakham Town Council has been clear that its objection to holding the Boxing Day meet at Cutts Close is a response to damage to the park and health and safety concerns relating to mess left behind by the hunt in previous years,” said county council leader Roger Begy.

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    “Fortunately, the county council is in a position to offer Catmose car park as an alternative location for the event.

    “The car park is a large tarmacked area which can be marshalled and cleaned with ease.”

    Hunt secretary Clare Bell said they are “absolutely thrilled” with the news.

    “The county council has been hugely supportive,” she said.

    “I completely understand the town council’s point of view — if you put 100 horses, 40 hounds and 700 people on foot on grass, it is going to make a mess — but they just did not handle it terribly well.

    “Luckily the county council has offered a large car park in Oakham that will suit our needs brilliantly.”

    She added that they will continue to carry out a collection for the charity For Rutland – In Rutland, which usually raises about £1,000.

    A statement from the county council said that it will consider the venue as a “long-term solution” for future Boxing Day meets.

    The car park is opposite Rutland County Museum and the meet, which often attracts between 700 and 1,000 people, will start at 10.45am.

    The number of hounds will be capped at five couple, both horses and hounds will be confined to hard standing areas only and arrangements are in place to clean up the car park as soon as the hunt moves off at 11.25am. No vehicles will be allowed.

    “Collections made at the meet have raised thousands of pounds for Rutland charities over the years,” said Cllr Begy.

    “Many of our local hostelries also benefit from increased trade due to the crowds which attend.

    “A large number of people within the community have expressed sadness and disappointment that the event might disappear entirely.

    “It would be a shame if this were to happen simply because a suitable location could not be agreed.”

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