A DOG day care venture scheme which was twice rejected amid claims it could spoil the tranquility of a village looks set to launch later this year following a government planning inspector dismissing councillors concerns.

Inspector David Cross said Jessica Emmerson’s centre outside Walworth, near Darlington to open 12 hours a day, six days a week would “not lead to undue harm to the living conditions of nearby residents as a result of noise and disturbance”.

Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee rejected the proposal twice last year over issues such as the prevailing wind and the nearest home being 13m away from the proposed kennels.

Members had heard arguments that siting the kennels near to people’s homes would infringe residents’ human rights and hit their quality of life.

The second hearing was told sound measurements had been taken on the basis of eight to ten dogs barking simultaneously within the outdoor dog exercise area – the worst case scenario – and results had shown expected noise levels were less than those permitted for such ventures.

The Northern Echo:

The noise impact assessment found the animals would generate less noise than cars.

In addition, the council’s principal environmental health officer Stephen Todd said while it was possible the noise data in the impact assessment could have been “massaged” he could not recall any complaint about dogs barking from a commercial kennels in the last 25 years.

The inspector said noise levels were likely to be significantly less than the worst case of 55 decibels and “planning conditions would mitigate and minimise potential adverse impacts on noise sensitive locations”.

The inspector also concluded the proposal would not lead to undue harm to the living conditions of residents, subject to appropriate control, and that it would “deliver the public benefit of supporting a prosperous rural economy through the growth of business in a rural area”.

The inspector ruled that conditions in relation to the times of operation, the number of dogs, overnight use and a management plan were appropriate in the interests of the living conditions of residents in the area.

Following the inspector’s decision, Ms Emmerson said she was delighted, but not surprised, to have won an appeal against the council’s decisions, which had created a huge amount of stress for her. She said she believed local opposition to her business proposal had been based on a fear of the unknown and that it would not create a nuisance in the area. Ms Emmerson said: “I know it is the right thing to set up and for the animals to have all the freedom and space - it’s a perfect facility for them.”

She said she hoped to open the centre by late October and that weekly grooming days would also be offered.