The owners of a dog rehabilitation centre who are embroiled in a court battle over a caravan, have applied for permission to retain the use of the land and build a worker’s dwelling on the site.

Planning permission to maintain the use of the land for private equine use, dog rehabilitation and a rural worker's dwelling, for K9 Rehab at Pendle Bridge Lodge, Woodend Road, Reedley, was refused in June.

But last month, owners of K9 Rehab, who currently live in a caravan which is illegally sited on the land, resubmitted plans to Pendle Borough Council asking if they could keep using the site as a rehab centre and build a more permanent accommodation for workers, who are required at the site 24 hours a day.

Lisa Tennant bought the land and set up the dog rehabilitation business at the site in summer 2019, which had an existing well-maintained barn building ideal for both the dog rehabilitation business and stabling of her horses.

However, there was no residential accommodation, and her business required a presence on-site for the dogs 24/7, so Mrs Tennant placed two residential caravans on the land.

The council then served enforcement notices for the storage of two caravans in September/October 2019 and one of the caravans was removed and an appeal lodged against the notices.

The enforcement notices were subsequently withdrawn, but a further notice was served against the remaining caravan in February 2020.

Mrs Tennant did not appeal against this notice as she says she did not receive it, and therefore found herself in breach of the enforcement, with the matter now subject to court action by the council.

Lancashire Telegraph: The proposed workers accommodationThe proposed workers accommodation

Previous applications to change the use from agricultural land to equine, and retain the stable building for five horses with hard standing area, have all been approved by Pendle Council.

Mrs Tennant’s application to build a new dwelling for workers at the site would allow the business, which involves standard obedience and agility training and training in tracking and various working trials to the highest standards that include dogs for the military and the police, to develop and grow.

The issue with the application and development of the site is that the site is on green belt land, and as a rural workers dwelling would not meet any of the exceptions identified in the Pendle development framework, it amounts to an inappropriate development which is not allowed in the green belt, except in very special circumstances.

However, a supporting planning statement resubmitted to the council last month reads: “The rural workers dwelling would allow the applicants to live on site, providing 24-hour monitoring of dogs at the site.

“The local framework encourages the sustainable growth and expansion of all types of business in rural areas. The business would provide employment paying above the national minimum wage.

“There is considerable interest in the service this site provides, from the police, the military and vets practices, as well as the public.

“These benefits do weigh in favour of these proposals. That is because the applicants offer a specialist service that is not commonly available in this area.

“The nearest similar facility from here is in Cheshire. There is no reason to doubt that interest in taking up available spaces at this business would not be taken up by those parties.

“The applicant could take other security measures for the site. However permanent on-site presence would, allow for immediate attention of animals kept there.

“The proposed development would allow the applicants to establish their practice, for which there is support among potential customers, for a highly specialised and for this area, unique, service.

“This outweighs the harm to the green belt by inappropriateness and loss of openness that would result from the siting of a relatively modest home.

“Accordingly, very special circumstances do exist in this instance for the proposals to be permitted.”

Seven letters of support were received for Mrs Tennant’s application, and Lancashire County Council’s Highways department has raised no objections to the plans either.

The only objection has come from Reedley Hallows Parish Council, who wrote: “The Reedley Hallows Parish Council wish to object to this application on the grounds of inappropriate development within a green belt.”

At present, a proposed development to provide spaces for 10 dog kennels on the site cannot be undertaken until planning permission is granted for the workers' dwelling and the county court proceedings dealt with. 

Residents had until Monday to comment on the plans, and decision will be made by the council on whether to approve the resubmitted application in the next few months.