Plans to convert a barn into kennels for up to 20 greyhounds have been rejected by Durham County councillors over noise fears.
Durham County Council’s (DCC) area planning committee met to discuss a retrospective application for the Gate House, in Dalton-le-Dale.
The plans included a retrospective ‘change of use’ for 10 metal-framed dog kennels in a barn on the site alongside a new bid for a storage building.
A council report added that horse manure was previously burned on site causing odour issues for residents alongside reports of dogs barking.
The kennels, which were built without planning permission last year, involved subdividing the barn with space for two dogs per kennel.
Following concerns, the applicant agreed to dispose of waste correctly while council officers drafted a planning condition restricting the kennels and new building being used for commercial gain.
During consultation on the plans, Dalton-le-Dale Parish Council and neighbours lodged objections over noise, odour and drainage.
At the meeting, several objectors packed into the chamber at Durham County Hall arguing the plans would have a “significant” impact on residents.
Coun Marion Oliver, of Dalton-le-Dale Parish Council, added the health and wellbeing of residents has “suffered” as a result of burning waste with “barking and howling dogs only creating more distress”.
The meeting heard that 16 dogs are currently kept on site with applicants having no intention to increase the number of dogs in future.
Since the initial noise complaints, the applicant also bought a noise-activated recorder and found no issues when monitoring audio overnight.
Applicant Paul Bedding told the committee he didn’t realise he needed planning permission to convert the barn – which had been on site for several years.
He added he intended to take greyhound training further as a “hobby and possible retirement” and that a management plan for the site would be followed with agreed exercise times for dogs between 8am – 10pm.
“I don’t want to upset the neighbours and I just want to carry on with what I’m doing,” he said.
In response to a question from Coun Owen Temple, the meeting heard all dogs on site were registered with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain and microchipped.
Coun Jan Blakey raised concerns that breeding could leave the kennels “well over its limits”.
Coun David Brown, recalling a site visit, also noted security concerns on a section of the site and the potential of dogs escaping and running onto nearby roads.
A DCC environmental officer said no noise and odour issues were found on site visits and that three out of four neighbour complaints against the applicant saw no further action.
Despite this, councillors voted against officers recommendations to approve the plans.
A motion for refusal was backed by 11 councillors with two councillors voting for the plans to be approved.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service