A HORSE-LOVING family fined for parking their horse trailer at Par beach have sparked a protest to get the red-tape ruling overturned.
The Dean family visited the beauty spot at Christmas for their annual ride along the beach.
But when they returned to the car park with daughter Christiana Dean, 13, and her horse Sky, they had received notice of a £35 fine on the vehicle.
Shocked mum Victoria Dean said this is the first time they have been fined since the family started the tradition nine years ago.
She appealed the penalty charge but failed, despite arguing that the signs stating horseboxes and trailers are prohibited are unclear.
Mrs Dean, 46, has launched a page on social networking website Facebook to warn other horse riders and in less than a week the Horsebox/trailers at Par beach group has garnered 465 members. She has also urged other horse riders who use the beach to write to the council.
Mrs Dean, from Trethurgy, said: "I could swallow the £35 fine but it's not about me it's about the principle.
"My horsey friends are all horrified and no one except me has ever received a penalty notice."
"I have had to try and explain to my 13-year-old daughter why we can't go to Par beach. It would be irresponsible of me to let her ride there along busy roads and it would take up to two and a half hours anyway. We'd have to park on Polmear Road, which is also busy and it would be too dangerous to unload the horses and tack up.
Friends of Par Beach, Douglas Scrafton, who represents Par and St Blazey on Cornwall Council, and St Austell Mayor Steve Double, have also signalled their support, she said.
The mum added: "What the council are saying is that you can ride on the beach but you can't transport them and leave them in the car park.
"The beach is a lovely long stretch of sand and the ponies can have a really good gallop and the members of the public love seeing the ponies on the beach. We don't leave any mess, we clear up after our horses and you wouldn't know a horse box had been there once we're gone."
"We are very fortunate to live in Cornwall with the coastline and the countryside and I feel as local people we should be able to enjoy it.
"It has been our family tradition for nine years to go down to Par beach and ride the ponies but it looks like this tradition will now disappear and that's really sad."
Councillor Scrafton said although the signs clearly show commercial vehicles are prohibited this was the first time he was aware of anyone being fined.
"I suppose there is a legal definition to this but what it does seem to me is that horses have been on that part of the beach certainly for as long as I have lived here and I suspect a great deal longer. I think it is an enormous pity there should be any impediment to them enjoying the beach.
He added: "I do not intend to let it rest where it is at the moment and I will be having further discussion with Cornwall Council to see what can be resolved."
Cornwall Council said heavy goods vehicles such as "lorry-style horseboxes" are classified as commercial vehicles and are not allowed in the car park because they damage the surface, which would need to be repaired.
It said that since concerns had been raised, it was considering the situation.