Controversial dog breeding kennel projects in Ebbw Vale, which thousands have opposed, could be back on the cards.
An appeal has been lodged against a decision by Blaenau Gwent Council to refuse permission to convert a former stable into 30 kennels at Star Fields in Mountain Road.
Around 18,500 people have signed a petition against the plans, with campaigning led by charities and animal welfare groups – including Hope Rescue, Puppy Love Campaigns and CARIAD.
Activists said the plans run counter to a motion passed unanimously by the council in favor of Lucy’s Law, which states that puppies must be sold from their place of birth.
But councilors have also been warned by planning officers that rejecting the application on animal welfare grounds could leave the authority open to an appeal.
Instead, the reasons given for the denial were based on the impact the buildings might have on a Special Landscape Area (SLA).
But an appeal filed on behalf of the plaintiff, Lee Bowerman, says the buildings have been in place for some time now and match others in the area that have no impact on ALS.
No more than 25 dogs at any one time will be kept on the site, in the interests of animal welfare, according to the appeal.
The number of dogs allowed on the site would also be regulated according to national standards by an independent and qualified veterinarian, it says.
The use of any of the proposed buildings for the breeding of dogs is “completely appropriate”, the appeal adds.
A request for costs has also been filed in relation to the rejection of the plans.
It states that the conduct of counsel in the application “is a clear example of unreasonable behavior, resulting in an unnecessary appeal and the incurring of unnecessary costs for the appellant, thereby justifying an award of costs.”
But activists have vowed to fight the appeal.
Councilor Lisa Winnett, who has already lodged an objection with the Planning Inspectorate, said: “I will always fight for animal welfare and try to be a voice for the voiceless because these dogs can’t speak for themselves.”
The charity Hope Rescue said: ‘We will not give up and keep fighting.
A town planning inspector will review the appeal in the coming months.