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Temporary permission granted for Congham dog breeding operation bid

Councillors have given the go-ahead for a dog breeding operation in a West Norfolk village, but only for a year.

Members of the borough council's planning committee voted unanimously to grant temporary consent for the site in Low Road, Congham, so that it can be monitored.

Officials had advised members to reject the application for retrospective permission, arguing that keeping up to 17 dogs and puppies on the site at once was "wholly inappropriate" for a residential area.

Planning applications (6482791)
Planning applications (6482791)

But the applicant, Shelley Tomsett, told the committee's meeting on Monday there was "no justification" for the recommendation, as she claimed to have the support of both her nearest neighbours and the wider dog showing community.

Ward councillor Michael de Whalley, who called the application in for a committee decision, highlighted similar applications in other parts of the borough which were given the go-ahead.

He said there was "no reason" to adopt a different approach in this case.

And committee member Colin Manning, the village's other ward representative, added: "I think this lady has been exemplary and this is something we should allow."

But assistant planning director Stuart Ashworth insisted the application was being judged on its own merits, as any other proposal would be.

Vivienne Spikings called for more information about the potential harm to neighbours following an objection by the council's community safety and neighbourhood nuisance unit.

However, Sandra Squire suggested the low number of complaints registered did not justify refusal.

And Tom Ryves said the fact the site was licensed for breeding operations risked making the council look "absurd" if planning consent was not granted.

Committee chairman Chris Crofts said he was aware of other cases where a temporary permission was granted and questioned whether a similar solution could be applied.

He said: "We can’t really vote for it and we can’t really vote against it. We’ll have to make a decision in a year’s time."

Several other members spoke in support of the idea, including Charles Joyce, who told his colleagues: "I’m not happy with refusing but I’m not happy with permanent permission either.

"I’m prepared to give her a chance and see what happens."

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