THE construction of dog kennels and a pet crematorium on the same site has been described as “inappropriate” and “unethical” by a parish councillor.
Holsworthy, a town nine miles east of Bude, will soon have a new dog grooming centre after Torridge District Council approved plans, and the same applicant has been given permission to build a crematorium next to it.
The applicant, who has been a dog breeder in Holsworthy for the last six years, wants to expand their business, so they chose West Villa, a countryside site near the village of Chilsworthy, to build eight dog kennels, a grooming salon and an exercise area for dogs.
They also gained permission to start work on a small crematorium, powered by a diesel tank, for deceased pets such as cats and dogs.
The proposal was met with resistance from locals, who warned that noise from the groomer, and emissions and odour from the crematorium would affect their quality of life.
There was a total of 33 objections from residents to the two proposals, with one asking that the plans be refused “in the name of justice”.
Plans for the kennel had previously been brought to the council, but it was refused as it would have caused too much disturbance to nearby homes, so a new site was chosen further away.
Both facilities will be built on a field just off the village, which has recently had some new homes added to it.
Cllr Kit Hepple (Independent, Milton and Tamarside) argued that Chilsworthy’s homes are now close enough to West Villa for the site to be considered part of the village. Therefore, he felt the proposal breached the North Devon and Torridge Local Plan (NDTLP).
“It is my contention that this site is not now legitimately in a countryside location, but realistically, it is in a village location,” he told the council during a planning meeting on Thursday, January 12.
Holsworthy parish councillor Robert Hore agreed the dog kennel would be too close to people’s homes, and argued that the residents of Chilsworthy would suffer from noise and light pollution.
“Please acknowledge the loss of quality of life that will be placed on residents adjacent to West Villa, who will have to live with an unacceptable businesses growth that has no right to be in a village setting,” added Cllr Hore.
The parish councillor also questioned the morality of placing a crematorium next to a facility where dogs are being groomed.
“Many residents have commented on how inappropriate it is to be breeding puppies, kennelling dogs and disposing of loved pets on the same site,” added Cllr Hore. “This unethical business operation is not suited to a residential location.”
The applicant had pledged to provide the necessary sound-proofing, such as high-spec kennels and double-glazed windows, to keep the noise down.
Planning officers were satisfied that the necessary measures had been taken, as was Cllr Chris Leather (Independent, Northam).
“If kennels are properly constructed – and looking at how it’s proposed to be developed – in my view, I don’t think there is a problem,” he said.
The applicant, Ben Harris, disagreed with Cllr Hore in that it is not all that uncommon to see dog kennels in the same site as crematoriums.
“Breeding dogs and pet cremation actually go side-by-side, potentially dealing with the same customers under different circumstances,” he said. “All over the country, there are quite a few dog kennels that have their own crematorium, so we know the businesses go hand-in-hand.”
He also claimed that the container inside which the crematorium will be placed is going to produce “minor emissions,” and will not be visible from the village.
Cllr Dermot McGeough (Conservative, Bideford North) said that there were no concerns “whatsoever” around the crematorium, and the council voted that both the pet disposal facility and the dog kennel can be built.