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Plans for rescue dog centre refused amid fears over pregnant sheep welfare

PUBLISHED: 08:26 07 June 2018

Hill House, Marsham.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Hill House, Marsham. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A plan to create a rehabilitation centre for Romanian rescue dogs in need of new forever homes has been shut down by councillors, amid fears they could kill unborn sheep.

Animal charity Safe Rescue for Dogs (SRfD) had applied to Broadland District Council for permission to convert Hill House in Marsham into a rehabilitation centre for rescue dogs with “behavioural difficulty”, in a plan that had the approval of council officers.

However, members of the council’s planning committee voted to go against the recommendations after concerns were raised around traffic, noise nuisance and – not least – pregnant sheep and their unborn lambs.

Were the plans approved, it would have seen 10 kennels built in the grounds of the Norwich Road home and the peripheries fenced off to allow on-lead exercise facilities for the dogs.

Instead, the majority of the committee voted to refuse planning permission, with Liberal Democrat councillor Steve Riley raising fears over the welfare of sheep living on Home Farm less than a mile away.

He said: “The noise of up to 20 dogs will carry. There are sheep towards the boundary (of the site) and they do not want to have to hear 20 dogs going off.

“Barking can cause great distress to sheep which can consequently lead to ewes miscarrying.”

The application also received objections from Norfolk County Council’s highways department, with concerns over vehicles serving the site, either dropping off and picking up dogs or waste collection.

And while officers deemed the impact limited and Bridget Foreman, of SRfD, insisted the centre would not be open to public visitors, some members agreed with the Highways objections.

Council officers recommended a temporary, two year consent to the plans, to allow the council to assess the centre’s impact in operation on both noise 
pollution and traffic. Kenneth Leggett, councillor for Old Catton and Sprowston west, raised concerns over what evidence would be gathered during this period - were temporary consent granted.

Instead though, councillors voted to go against the recommendation and refuse 
the application, with seven members of the committee voting in favour of the refusal.

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