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Tiverton Town Council reject divisive anti- hunt meet motion in victory for the rural way of life

A divisive motion which sought to outline Tiverton Town Council's opposition to a popular festive hunt meet in the town, was overwhelmingly rejected by councillors last night.

Top photo: Facebook, kindly submitted by Chris Harn Harris

The result has delighted rural campaigners, who had urged local councillors to 'back the local rural community' ahead of the vote, which took place at New Hall, yesterday (Monday, March 28).

The motion, submitted by Councillor Andy Perris which was discussed at a full council meeting yesterday stated: "This council notes that the hunt meets in Tiverton on Boxing Day and has done so for many years without seeking support from either Mid Devon District Council or Tiverton Town Council.

"This council opposes the Hunt meeting in Tiverton in the future. We ask the town clerk to discuss the meeting with Mid Devon District Council noting that this meeting is undertaken without the usual permission for street collections and road closures; and no risk assessment or plan to clean up after the event."

Only three councillors voted in favour of the motion, while eleven voted against it and six abstained.

The Tiverton Hunt, which has met in the town centre on Boxing Day over a number of years, thanked councillors for supporting the rural way of life.

A spokesperson from the Tiverton Hunt said: "We would like to thank all those councillors who voted against this divisive motion last night and would like to also thank the local community for their ongoing support. We appreciate the kind messages we have received over the past few days. The rejection of this motion was substantial and sends a clear message that Tiverton councillors are supportive of the rural way of life. The Tiverton Hunt looks forward to meeting again in the town this year and welcoming families from across the community to join us in what is always a fantastic spectacle and a much-loved festive tradition."

Among those also opposing the motion were the Countryside Alliance, who had contacted councillors ahead of the vote.

Polly Portwin, Director of the organisation's Campaign for Hunting said: "Festive meets are an important fixture for many people up and down the country. They bring people together from all walks of life and often provide local businesses with passing trade at an important time of the year. The Tiverton meet, in particular, always receives such a positive welcome from local people and it is right that the council recognised that by voting the way they did last night. We would like to thank those councillors who rejected division."

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