By Myles Cook
RESIDENTS of The Hawthorns in Corringham found themselves defeated in their battle opposing the planning application for 74 Fobbing Road as last night’s Planning Committee meeting saw the proposal approved by members.
The whole issue hinged on the “very special circumstances” cited as the reason to approve the plans. The reporting officer at the meeting stated that the removal of other existing buildings and a spoil heap on the site combined with the erection of a Jackoustic Environmental Reflective Noise Barrier creates a “potential net gain to the green belt land that outweighed the harm of the illegally erected kennel building and the associated noise.”
Resident’s spokeswoman, Christina Pumfrey, put forward her case, citing the excessive noise from the boarded dogs and the lack of credible safeguards against it.
Mrs Pumfrey claimed that the “rights and needs” of the residents were being ignored as were planning issues and the “illegal” construction of the kennels two years ago.
Evidence of the noise nuisance, (filmed by some of the residents) to back up their complaints, was deemed as inadmissible by the investigating officer on a previous visit, Ms Pumfrey claimed.
Lee Housden, the applicant’s son, told the committee that the Housden family not only work with the RSPCA, the Metropolitan Police and a local charity with housing dogs but had done so since 1975. He stated that they have taken in council stray dogs and that the kennel building was constructed to bring the accommodation up to council standards.
The reporting officer confirmed Mr Housden’s assertion that the Environmental Health Department have not upheld any complaints regarding noise nuisance at the site.
The committee voted to approve the application but there were a number of abstentions.
Afterwards YT spoke to the residents to gauge their reaction
Resident Thomas Dove said: “We sat and listened to all the pros and cons of whether it constituted green belt or not green belt but our argument wasn’t about whether it was green belt or not, it was about the amount of noise that was coming from it and, whether it’s commercial or taking in stray dogs. As was said, twelve noisy dogs are twelve noisy dogs.”
Resident Richard Kaszycki: “What we just witnessed here is about taking pity on dogs and not looking at the planning application and responding and voting on an application for an illegal building that actually causes noise due to twelve dogs. Whether the dogs are actually boarders, they’re paid for, they’re commercial, it doesn’t matter. They make noise and the residents have been totally ignored.
We had a petition of 50 people around the site. We had 17 letters of complaint. Yes, we did have enforcement people come around and actually check but, unfortunately, somehow the noise of the dogs was taken away as a result of the fact that, we think, people knew the enforcement people were coming over.
“So, yes, we haven’t had any noise for the last six months but that’s because they’ve been very, very careful and not been putting any dogs in there while the planning applications have been submitted then withdrawn then submitted and then withdrawn.
“The local residents have actually been trying to make contact with the local planning officers. I particularly called up the individual that was responsible for this application and, unfortunately, I reported the fact that some of the information we submitted in the complaints was missing. It appeared on the website a day later.
There is one letter that was submitted from one of the houses that actually isn’t even up on the website today but, at the same time, the planning officer confirmed that she’d received it. I don’t understand that. There is something not quite right here.”
Applicant Jacqulynn Housden said: “We’re just happy that it’s come to a closure and now we can draw a line under it.”
Applicant’s son, Lee Housden said: “I’d like to thank all the people who helped us and we can continue doing our charity work helping the dogs that have been abandoned, abused and find them new homes. Thanks everybody involved.”