Wildlife in Need has been operating a animal care facility at the property on Hickinwood Lane, Clowne, since April 2019, but has now applied for formal permission to convert the residential property to an “animal hospital”.
In its retrospective application to Bolsover Council for planning permission, it said: “The proposal submitted is for the conversion of an existing dwelling house and surrounding garden areas and driveway to form an animal hospital and premises.
“Care has been taken to ensure the conversion requires the minimal amount of intervention with the existing building and no works have been proposed externally in the public eye.
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“The use of the scheme is to simply provide a space for the treatment of animals in need of medical care/ treatment.”
The application says animals treated at the site are small/domestic scale pets or small wild animals.
However, several neighbours objected to the plans, citing traffic and noise concerns, the potential for waste to attract rats, as well as fears of expansion.
One objection raised concerns the official change of use “could potentially open the flood gates to a business expansion in the future”.
Another highlighted that it was a residential area, access to the property was “restrictive and hazardous and not suitable for increased volume or traffic management” and feared the use of the word ‘animal’ “could lead to a ‘back door’ application for operating a business for larger animals”.
However, the council backed the application.
A report by council officers said: “The purpose of the business, according to a representative at the site visit, is to provide low-level care for sick and injured, small, generally wild animals, such as birds and hedgehogs.
“They did confirm, however, that if a road-injured dog or cat was identified they would bring it in to provide the necessary triage care."
It said: “The proposed use is considered to be modest in its operation and as such has no impact on the visual amenity on the area.
“The development shall be able to continue with its current activities, without causing potential detriment to residential amenity and highway safety.”
Wildlife in Need declined to comment.