Dog kennel business near Battle approved

Proposals to open a dog kennels business near Battle have been given the go ahead by Rother planners. 

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 3:27 pm

On Thursday (April 15), Rother District Council planners approved an application to use land at Woodlands Farm in Netherfield Road as a kennelling business able to house up to 25 dogs.

While it was recommended for approval, the scheme had seen objections from a number of residents, largely over the potential for noise and disturbance in a rural area.

Some of these concerns were voiced by ward councillor Kathryn Field (Lib Dem), who said: “It is outside the development boundary and is in the AONB. That is about more than landscape, the [local plan] in fact talks about ‘tranquilty’ which brings us to the core matter; the noise.

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“It is a difficult issue, because it is subjective, but however you measure noise, the measurement is only relevant when the noise is being made. Industrial noise happens between certain hours and it is continuous. Dogs barking is totally unpredictable and therefore much more disruptive. 

“Keeping dogs inside won’t stop them barking dogs will react to other dogs not just those within their own kennels so I think the mitigation of the noise is a really difficult question.”

She added: “I think it is very sad to see someone really enthusiastically trying to start a new business, but I genuinely believe this is the wrong place to do it.” 

Cllr Field said she had particular concerns about controlling the sound of dogs during outside play, arguing that most preventive measures would have an impact on the landscape.

The applicant had tried to allay these concerns, however. Robert Craddock, a spokesman for the prospective business, said: “Arrivals and collections at the kennels will be limited to a small window of time, mornings and evenings, to minimise detrimental effect for local residents. 

“The main business will come from overnight boarding with daycare being offered to existing customers if need be, but it is not intended to be daycare for people who are going to work regularly, every day. 

“The amount of traffic that is going to be coming up and down the lane is only going to be to drop the dogs off when they go on their holidays and when they come back collect them a week or two weeks later.”

Mr Craddock added: “Every consideration has been made to noise, as much as possible. Paddocks to the rear of the buildings, further down the hill, surrounded by woodland and external fencing in this area will be acoustic, as specified by Environmental Health.”

He also said that dogs would be supervised while exercising and that no more than five dogs would ever be outside at the same time. 

In light of the objections, some committee members argued for granting time-limited planning permission in order to test whether there would be significant disruption to the local area. 

Officers advised against this approach, however, arguing that the proposals did not meet the criteria for such a measure. 

Other committee members felt more strongly that the application should be approved.

Cllr Tony Ganly (Con) said: “It seems most of the objections concern noise. Well there will be double insulation. The barn itself will have walls and roof insulation and the kennels within the barn will also have their walls and roofs insulated.

“There is going to be very little noise from the inside where the dogs are going to be spending something like 19 hours in every 24. 

“They will be outside for a maximum of five hours a day. I walk my dog most days and encounter many other dog walkers. The dogs bark very little if at all. They are too busy sniffing at each others’ rear ends.

Battle Town Council says it considers this an inappropriate use of the site but fails to say why it considers the site to be inappropriate. From my point of view, the project would bring employment opportunities to Battle and provide a service to the community.”

Following further discussion the scheme was unanimously approved. 

For further details of the proposals see application reference RR/2020/1128/P on the Rother District Council website.