There was a Sanctuary for Horses at the Bushy Wood stables for many years before our involvement.  A local Polegate builder, Gordon Worcester, built the first stables under permitted development rights.  He immediately found homes for rescued horses for his stables.  At this point Wealden District Council (WDC), well known for stomping on equine activities, decided to enforce against the use.  Mr Worcester took the matter to appeal in the early 1990's and won a personal permission, by demonstrating a need from the number o horses in his care.  A number of you will remember David McInnernie living on site to provide care for the horses.


In the mid 1990's Michael and Valerie Punter realised their lifelong ambition to be able to care for horses, when they purchased the Sanctuary from Mr Worcester.  Unfortunately, nobody realised the permission would have to be transferred.  On discovering Mr & Mrs Punter did not understand the planning system, officers at WDC decided this was their opportunity to thwart the decision of the Secretary of State - a decision they were determined not to accept.


Accordingly, WDC officers served enforcement notices, timed to arrive at Christmas when they knew Mr & Mrs Punter were away on holiday.  This left the owners with very little time to respond.  Luckily, a member of the Wealden Action Group, Chester Hudson, drove to Bristol and lodged appeal documents at the 11th hour.


WDC did not like this at all.  They ignored a public petition and animal rights protesters.  Sure they would lose the appeal, they decided to destroy Mr Worcester's fine stables, thus destroying the object of the appeal.  WDC thought they had won, but fortunately, the Secretary of State accepted the appeal as being valid.  A Public Inquiry was heard in 1997, Nelson Kruschandl volunteering his services as advocate.  


Pauline grant of The Sussex Horse Rescue Trust gave evidence, as did a number of other Sanctuaries in the area.  WDC were severely criticised for their handling of the matter.  The Secretary of State could not grant permission against demolished buildings, but he did the next best thing - he stated that via our witnesses, we had demonstrated the need, then went on to describe the appropriate development.


Accordingly, the stables were rebuilt almost exactly as the buildings Wealden demolished.  However, WDC refused to compensate Mr & Mrs Punter for their loss.  In all this extraordinary tale of malice, WDC have been shown to be utterly unrepentent.  Indeed, they still refuse to accept the decision of the Secretary of State.  They don't play by the rules and it has become personal.  You can read the newspaper accounts of the demolition on the links at the foot of this page.


NOTICE - Unfortunately, we are no longer involved with the running or administration of Busy Wood Farm, hence may not pursue our plans to improve the facilities.  We understand the stables have ceased operating as a rescue centre as of October 2004.  If you are offered livery at this location, please be aware that you will be acting unlawfully and could be prosecuted accordingly.


Our new local member is Cllr Dr Ian Haffenden, should you want further information on this subject.




Cllr Dr Ian Haffenden



2 Westdown Cottages
Downash  Hailsham
East Sussex  BN27 2RT


Home Tel No  01323 845241   E Mail Address

Ward  Hailsham South and West

Party Wealden Independent

Date Elected  May 99



Committees  Development Control South Sub Committee   Review Board    Regulatory Committee   Cabinet   Standards Committee


Administration Consultant: Nelson Kruschandl - 07905 147709


We believe every horse, pony and donkey has the right to be part of a loving family where it will be cared for and loved to the end of its natural life.




HORSE SANCTUARY UK LIMITED is a company with charitable objects Registered in England and Wales No. 4593172