A MAJOR refurbishment of a west Leeds park could be under “jeopardy” because of some horsey squatters with a mischievous streak, it has been claimed.
Armley Moor is due to get a £150,000 makeover to turn it from common land into a public park.
However the work can’t start until the horses that have been grazing there for years - and often nipping playfully at passers-by - are moved on.
The issue was raised at a recent meeting of the Armley Community Forum, where one concerned resident said: “What about the horses? They are supposed to be going but we have got problems getting them off.”
Another said: “What is more natural than for a child to approach [a horse]?
“That is a risk if the horse is particularly frisky.”
The land was recently entrusted to the Armley Common Rights Trust, which maintains all the public parks in Armley.
Armley Labour councillor Alison Lowe, who sits on the Trust committee , said: “It is putting the project in jeopardy. The funders want access for everybody on the moor,
“The people who own the horses want it kept grazing land.
“A few people have been bitten and nipped while walking past and the horses are quite intimidating for children.
“Now the Armley Common Rights Trust has gone through the process, everyone has to have access to the moor.”
David Boutle, who chairs the Armley Common Rights Trust committee, said work was likely to start “this year”.
He said the moor was in “a bad state of repair” when it was free land, and “we were not averse to the horses grazing as they were helping to maintain the land.”
It is believed negotiations are ongoing with the unnamed owners of the horses.
The Armley Moor Improvement Project is to be funded by £120,000 in Section 106 money - community cash set aside from private developments - and £38,000 from the Green Leeds Fund.
The new park will include an outdoor green gym, new benches and railings, and trees and flowerbeds.