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PLANS for dog breeding kennels in Ebbw Vale have been rejected by councilors after nearly 19,000 people signed a petition opposing the development.
Animal welfare campaigners who staged a protest outside the council’s civic center ahead of the planning committee meeting today, cheered as the decision was made.
Councilors last month decided to reject the contentious application to convert a former stable into 30 kennels at Star Fields, Mountain Road, against the advice of planning officers who recommended approval.
The committee met this morning to decide the reasons for its refusal, having been told that rejecting the application on animal welfare grounds could leave the authority open to appeal.
Charities and animal welfare groups – including Hope Rescue, Puppy Love Campaigns and CARIAD – campaigned against the plans, with a petition signed by around 18,500 people.
Activists say the plans run counter to the spirit of Lucy’s Law, which the authority supports, which states that puppies must be sold from their place of birth.
Councilor Lisa Winnett said Lucy’s Law acts as “overarching policy” for the authority, including matters of planning policy.
“The animal welfare issue is huge,” said Cllr Winnett.
“As members, we need to give a voice to the voiceless, because these dogs can’t tell you what’s going on.”
Protesters against plans for dog breeding kennels in Ebbw Vale gather outside the town’s civic centre. Photo – www.christinsleyphotography.co.uk
Steve Smith, head of development services for Blaenau Gwent council, advised the committee to decide on the application on its “planning merit”.
Mr Smith told the committee there was a ‘likelihood of appeal in this matter’ if leave was refused.
The application also requested permission to retain a stable and containers for storage, which are already on the land.
Councilor Wayne Hodgins said the council was “unable to tolerate the presence of these buildings” without any planning permission.
He also pointed out that the buildings are located in a Special Landscape Area (SLA) of the council’s local development plan.
The meeting was informed that a higher test is set for development in these areas.
Advisors were also told of eight potential reasons for refusing the application as identified by Hope Rescue, including concerns expressed about its visual impact.
The committee unanimously rejected the plans, opposing the principle of development within SLA.
Vanessa Waddon, founder of the charity Hope Rescue, said campaigners expected an appeal to be filed but vowed they would “continue to fight it to the bitter end”.
Ms Whaddon said she was ‘absolutely delighted’ with what she said was a ‘brave decision’ to reaffirm the refusal.