THE future of a horse rehoming and rehabilitation charity remains uncertain following concerns over its impact on neighbours and becoming “a blot on the national park’s landscapes”.

The North York Moors National Park Authority’s planning committee has voted to postpone a decision over whether to approve plans for the All For Horses centre at Silpho, Harwood Dale, four years after the charity set up there.

The meeting had heard the charity cared for up to 30 horses at the site, but had not received planning permission to to change the use agricultural buildings, retain a touring caravan and portacabin for workers and build a summerhouse and toilet block.

In a brief statement for the charity Bill Edwards told members: “We do a lot of good for community. We help out a lot of people as well as horses.”

The meeting was told over the past 40 years the authority had considered four applications for animal rescue centres, which had all been controversial.

Members heard there was usually a lot of support for such centres as they dealt with a failing in society, as well as objections because the centres were set up for the convenience of the owners.

Officers told the meeting while it was felt a horse rehoming charity could be run from the site, it would need to be transformed and managed differently.

After viewing pictures of mess on the site, muddy lanes and brown fields a number of members told the meeting its appearance was “unacceptable”.

Resident Jacqui Shipman urged members to visit the site to view the impact the charity had had on the landscape, the narrow lanes and neighbouring properties.

She told members they were responsible for conserving natural beauty and wildlife as well as the tranquility and sense of remoteness with the national park.

She questioned whether charity could afford to implement planning conditions the park authority’s officers had said could make its operation acceptable.

The meeting heard some of its activities were similar to an online charity.

Mrs Shipman said: “An online selling business and associated traffic does not support the sense of tranquility and remoteness in this quiet location.”

Chris France, the authority’s director of planning, added: “It is telling that none of this has been put right in this time. Why wait until approval is given to suddenly change the way it is run?”

After members said too many horses were being kept on the site and in poor conditions, the meeting was told there was “no concrete evidence” that the charity’s regime was harmful to the horses and that the charity had been supported by some equine experts.

Member Patrick James said: “If this was a hospital with humans... hospitals get full. Perhaps we should limit how many horses go on the site. It would be very interesting to get the opinion of a proper animal welfare charity.”

Proposing a decision on the site be delayed to enable the committee to visit it, member Janet Frank said: “I think we all have sympathy with these people, they are trying to do something that’s good rescuing poor animals in a poor state and looking after them and trying to get them rehoused.

“However, this site really isn’t kept in a suitable condition.

“It would be good to try and allow these people to carry on their rescue service without causing such a blot on the landscape.”