FENCING that was used to turn a former scout hut into dog kennels has been ordered to be ripped down by the County Council.

The hut is located on Colliery Road in Willington and has not been used by the Scouts for about ten years since they moved to Helmington Row. Durham County Council found after concerns were raised over noise and the state of the site, in the spring of 2018. Residents say there have been dogs there for at least two years. The Enforcement Notice refers to 'the keeping of dogs'. The Council has ordered the removal of all animals, enclosures, cages or pens from the building and grounds of the land.

Metal fencing panels have been installed with adaptations to the original boundary which did not have planning permission, along with timber framing and side panels erected at the roadside pedestrian gate in the north east corner of the site which will be removed.

The order also states the removal of all waste, debris, rubbish which has accumulated over the last two years.

Stephen Reed, Durham County Council’s planning development manager, said: “We became aware that the former Scout hut in Willington was being used as a private kennel without planning permission having been granted for this use. We served an enforcement notice to stop the unauthorised use and were subsequently informed that an appeal against this had been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. We have written to residents living close to the site to let them know about the appeal and are currently preparing our response to it.”

Durham County Councillors Fraser Tinsley and Olwyn Gunn have been involved in the issue for 18 months. Cllr Tinsley said: “It is extremely frustrating how long it has taken the Planning Inspectorate to deal with the appeal against the Council’s Enforcement Notice that was issued back in March. This matter needs to be resolved ASAP so that everybody can move on with their lives.”

The Northern Echo tried to contact the appellant but received any comment.

The appeal is on the planning inspectorate website and can be accessed by using reference number 3227317. Any comments must quote this appeal reference number. The deadline for submission of comments is December 30.