Shropshire animal boarding home in bid to build new staff accommodation
A Shropshire animal boarding home is applying to build new staff accommodation in its grounds, and says it is essential to keep the business going.
Wychwood Kennels and Cattery, near Lilleshall, has been operating for 40 years.
Katie Lutner, a partner in the business, has applied to build the three-bedroom bungalow on a grass plot next to the cattery.
A design statement, submitted as part of the application, acknowledges there is already a house on the site, but says the additional home and the close-at-hand staff it would permit are required to enable the business to continue and uphold new supervision standards. Planning policies usually restrict development in rural areas, but Miss Lutner’s statement points out this can be relaxed to “meet essential need for rural worker dwellings”.
Pre-application advice from a council planning officer concluded that “the kennels is a rural enterprise to meet policy” but that the existing house on the Kynnersley Drive site “cancels out the need for a rural worker dwelling, so the proposal in this sense would still not comply with policy”.
Miss Lutner writes: “This report aims to provide evidence that due to the size and scale of the business an additional dwelling is required and that the need is not cancelled out because a dwelling already exists on site.
“The dwelling is required to enable the business to continue to offer a service and also to enable the standards introduced under the Animals Welfare Act to be met.”
The 2018 act introduces minimum and higher standards for animal homes. The higher standards, which Wychwood intends to maintain, require one full-time equivalent staff member per 15 dogs and a 1:20 ratio for cats.
Miss Lutner writes: “The requirement to meet welfare regulations, including the need to be on site 24 hours per day, seven days per week is resulting in the business not being able to meet client need throughout the year.”
A letter from veterinary surgeon Dermot Costelloe, a partner with Tern Vets, confirms Wychwood provides “an extremely high standard of care”.
Mr Costello, who has provided veterinary support to the business for three years, adds: “The claims made within the application relating to animal wwelfare and the high dependency reqirement of some of the animals within their care are accurate.
“It would be detrimental to our community if the service provided by the kennels was to decline.”
Lilleshall Parish Council will be consulted about the housebuilding plan, and Telford and Wrekin Council’s planning department will make its decision at a later date.