GRIEVING families have pleaded for dog kennels already built near a cemetery to be refused planning permission.

Objectors to the kennels at West Pennine Remembrance Park, Entwistle, which supply German Shepherds to police forces across the country, say burials have been interrupted by barking dogs - completely shattering the peace and quiet of the remembrance park.

Blackburn with Darwen Council officers were notified to the existence of the kennels in the park last year after complaints from residents about barking dogs.

Enforcement action had been planned but was delayed following discussions with the owners.

The proposal, lodged by Chris Gore, who owns the remembrance park site, seeks to give permission for the existing three dog kennels, together with the construction of two additional kennels.

Planning officers have proposed to grant temporary permission for the next 12 months for the development

Objecting to the application, Andrew Worden said: “I have relatives buried in the remembrance park and I had planned to be buried there also.

“I have been visiting the park for almost 15 years now and seen the facilities and standards decline since the death of Bill Gore, who set up the park in 2003.

“When I attended a funeral there in May [last year], I was shocked and extremely upset with the experience as it appears the land now houses a dog breeding facility with purpose built kennels.

“Throughout the service, there was constant barking of dogs from the kennels whilst we were at the graveside.

“Can you imagine attending a funeral of your loved ones in these circumstances?

“ I am extremely upset with the situation and it displays a total disregard and disrespect for the park users who are there to attend funerals or visit their loved ones’ final resting place.”

Natural burials are conducted at the park, where the use of traditional headstones are banned in a bid to retain the natural beauty and feel of the area.

Instead all memorial stones are set to ground level in order to maintain the woodland environment and the park welcomes and encourages people to plant their own native woodland plants.

Angela Garvey added: “In 2003, my family chose this tranquil place to lay my husband’s ashes to rest.

“I myself have reserved a plot next to my husband when the time comes.

“I find this extremely upsetting and urge you to reconsider this application not just for me, but for all the other families of people laid to rest there.”

Gemma Sharpe said: “When I attended my grandad’s funeral, I was shocked and disappointed at the state of the car park, reception area and entrance to the park compared to my grandmother’s funeral.

“The car park was full of dog mess and throughout the service, there was constant interruption of dogs barking from the kennels while we were at the graveside.

“The West Pennine Remembrance Park was chosen because of the peace and tranquillity of the setting and this is sadly no longer the case.

The authority’s own public protection team recommended permission should not be granted for the additional kennels.

And they advised the developer should submit a written assessment of levels of noise from dog barking and the effectiveness of options for mitigating any adverse impact on users of the park.

Despite that, the application has been recommended for temporary approval, with a further application needed to grant permission beyond the next 12 month.

Mr Gore was unavailable for comment.

The planning and highways committee will debate the application in a meeting at Blackburn Town Hall on Thursday next week at 6.30pm.