Plans to introduce seafront horse drawn carriage rides have been scrapped following animal welfare concerns.

Eastbourne Council had initially granted a licence for carriage rides along the seafront and through the town centre.

But protection group Animal Aid raised concerns about the rides, including the welfare of the horses and the demands made on them, the need for rest, running water and suitable shelter, the unsuitability of the type of harness used for the rides and the local road network which presents tripping hazards and busy town centre traffic.

The council decided to shelve the plans at a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Wednesday.

Fiona Pereira from Animal Aid said: “We are absolutely delighted the detailed case we set out regarding the risk to horses, as well as to public safety, was found to be convincing.

“That is great news, and will be instructive for other local authorities who might be considering such a scheme.”

Councillor Steve Wallis, portfolio holder for the environment, said: “Eastbourne Borough Council was always going to make the welfare of horses paramount before issuing any licences to proprietors of horse drawn carriage offers.

“However, having listened to the concerns raised by Animal Aid and the evidence provided, we had no hesitation in reversing our original decision.

“Since meeting with Animal Aid I have been assisting them in trying to locate those authorities that do issue licences so they can try to persuade those councils to drop the allowing of horse drawn carriages within their towns.

“I would also urge the Government to fully investigate the business of horse drawn carriages and consider the banning of the practice.”