A MASTER huntsman allowed her mum to build a chalet on her land without planning permission so she could help protect the family’s horses from gun and knife attacks.

Natasha Wheeler admitted breaching an enforcement notice which asked her to remove the chalet, built on her land north of Charlton Lane, Torton, near Hartlebury, when she appeared before magistrates in Worcester.

The court was told the 39-year-old, of Goldness Farm, Torton, had exchanged regular correspondence with Wychavon District Council, the planning authority.

Leonie Woodward, a solicitor employed by the council, said the issue was first raised in June 2006 when they had a complaint about the wooden chalet and Wheeler was advised she needed planning permission for it.

Ms Woodward said Wheeler had told council officials that she planned to submit a retrospective planning application but they did not receive one.

When nothing was done about the chalet and an enforcement notice was served in April 2007, Wheeler lodged an appeal but the appeal was dismissed in November 2007.

A prosecution began against Wheeler in April last year and an agreement that the contents of the chalet should be put into storage and the building dismantled.

The court was told the chalet had now been removed although further checks were needed to see if the hard-standing underneath had been taken out.

Mark Sheward, defending, said the land had been rented by Wheeler to her mother, an equestrian journalist, because of attacks on horses kept there.

He said: “Originally a temporary dwelling was put up because there had been problems with horses kept by my client on the land. One horse was subject to a slashing and another horse was shot with an air rifle. There were some ongoing problems with maintenance of those horses while kept at that location. The chalet was put up to allow her mother to reside on site so she could keep an eye on those horses.”

Mr Sheward also said the land was now in a better state than it was since the chalet was put up.

She was fined £1,500 and ordered to pay costs of £982.50 and a £15 victim surcharge.

  • Your Worcester News reporter was the only member of the media at court.