AFTER Ledbury Town Council voted not to oppose road closures for the Boxing Day meet, anti-hunting activists have now put pressure on the Feathers Hotel.

The question was placed on the agenda of last Thursday’s council meeting following a lobbying campaign by opponents of hunting.

They cited the recent decision by the Malvern Hills Trust to ban trail hunting from its land due to “evidence of systematic violations of the rules”. In response, councillors were asked to vote on the motion that they write to the county council to “formally request that the road not be closed for the Ledbury Hunt and that council take no action to facilitate the hunt.”

The motion was defeated by six votes to four, with one abstention. 

Speaking before the meeting, Coun Ewen Sinclair, who voted against, said: “The hunt meet generates a huge amount of revenue for local hostelries and we as a council have no right to deny them this income.”

Since the decision, the Herefordshire Hunt Sabs have taken to Facebook to thank “everyone who contacted the Feathers about the Ledbury Hunt Boxing Day meet. 

“We're pleased to see the new management team are distancing themselves from the hunt.”

In response to the messages, the hotel issued the following statement: “We are not involved in the hunt nor do we facilitate/host it. The hunt has set off from outside the hotel on the public land for many years and we have no power to stop them. 

“Our hotel is a 24 hour, 365 day a year business and will be open to the public on that day, the same as any other day but we do not get involved in the hunt.” 

Despite failing to prevent the closure of the High Street for the meet, the Herefordshire Hunt Sabs said a protest would take place on the day. A message on its Facebook group said: “Bring banners and placards. Expect a silent, peaceful demonstration with a surprise element tbc [to be confirmed].”

An application has been made to the county council for Ledbury High Street to be closed from 10.15-11.15am while the meet takes place.

The Ledbury Hunt can trace its origins back to 1846, and has met in the town centre every Boxing Day since then. The only exceptions were during the war years and last year due to pandemic restrictions.