Fishbourne residents fight against plans for new dog facility

Plans to build a ‘doggy day care’ facility on a farm in Fishbourne have sparked ‘disbelief and anger’ among residents.

A change of use application has been submitted, requesting permission to turn some of the agricultural land at Bethwines Farm, on Blackboy Lane, into a dog care facility.

The developers said the facility will have capacity for up to 50 dogs and aims to provide owners with a space in which they can have their pet looked after and cared for.

A planning document read: “Life can be very busy and complicated at times so providing dog owners with a safe, happy environment for their dog is vital.

The developers said the facility will have capacity for up to 50 dogs and aims to provide owners with a space in which they can have their pet looked after and cared for. Photo: Architecture Limited

“It not only allows the owners to engage in activities that we may not be able to do alongside our dog but also socialisation is invaluable for dogs and key in their growth and happiness.”

So far, more than 25 objection letters and comments have been submitted to Chichester District Council.

During this week’s meeting of the Fishbourne Neighbourhood Plan Group, it was argued that there is no research to show a lack of such provision and, ‘even if there was’, there are ‘far more sustainable locations’ available in and around Fishbourne.

Geoff Hand, Chairman of Fishbourne Parish Council and the neighbourhood plan group, said the plans ‘caused disbelief and anger’ among residents.

A group spokesperson said: "Some residents living in Bethwines Close would have the facility up to their back fences but the noise provided by 50 dogs throughout the day would be an intolerable increase in noise pollution over a much more extensive area."

An unnamed resident added: "There is a deep concern regarding noise pollution particularly if you are a night worker trying to sleep during the summer daytime when windows are open.

"Dependent on the prevailing wind conditions the sound of barking will reach far beyond the homes on the western side of Bethwines Close to Blackboy Lane and north to cottages in

Clay Lane.”

The two available car-parking spaces were also described as ‘woefully inadequate’.

The spokesperson said: "Since there would probably need to be five staff and, since most of the dog owners would be likely to drop off the dogs on their way to work, there is likely to be an overflow on to Blackboy Lane and the neighbouring roads."

Members said this road is 'already used as rat-run' for drivers 'seeking to avoid' Fishbourne roundabout.

The proposals will include the siting of three temporary buildings, which will provide a reception area, an ancillary shop, staff area, and separate respite space for dogs.

"The containers will not be used continually throughout the day, although the dogs will have access to the indoor area should they wish," a planning document read.

"By virtue of the proposals, a 1.8m high perimeter fence will be installed to provide an enclosed exercise/play area and ensure the dogs cannot escape."

Access to the facility would be via Bethwines Close and the existing private access road within Bethwines Farm.

A new junction would be created off this access road, to provide vehicular and pedestrian access to the site.

The developers said the buildings would have a 'functional design', with corrugated steel cladding which 'reflects the nature of other farm/agricultural buildings on the wider site'.

However, Mr Hand reported that the parish council has a policy which prevents any non-agricultural development of any 'top quality farmland'.

He said that Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic have both highlighted the need to 'maximise locally-produced food', adding: "The safeguarding of agricultural land is also a key element in Government thinking and forms part of the National Planning Policy Framework."

The deadline for comments on the application (21/02553/FUL) is next Wednesday (October 20).

This is not the only development proposal for Bethwines Farm to cause anger in recent times. Proposals for 35 homes at the land south of Ivy Lodge were twice turned down after more than 300 objections. Read more here