A Wyre cattery which has offered de-luxe accommodation for holidaying moggies is about to have its last miaow.
Owner Susan Challioner is to close the family’s Catsaway business on Church Lane, Winmarleigh at the end of April after 12 years caring for feline visitors.
But as she prepares to pull down the shutters she has blasted Wyre Council, claiming it has been inconsistent in interpreting planning rules about permitted rural development.
Her decision to close is based on a mixture of the recession, health issues and the number of catteries now operating in the wider area.
The family had tried to sell the cattery business and Susan says she wants to thank her loyal customers.
But her fury stems from the Council’s refusal to let her convert the about to be redundant cattery office/store/cleaning rooms/isolation unit into a new eco-friendly bugalow home for her family.
She says two applications for changes to residential use elsewhere in the borough were recently approved, but the Council’s stance has now changed.
Her MP Eric Ollerenshaw, who represents Lancaster and Fleetwood, has asked Wyre Council’s Chief Executive to review the case. Meanwhile Susan has written to Government Minister Eric Pickles detailing her outrage.
She claims the Council changed its mind on its policy half way through the planning process about what is and is not acceptable – leaving her with a £2,000 plus bill for the failed application.
Susan added: “I want to retire over there. I’m going to end up with an empty building. It’s ridiculous really. I’ve written to Eric Pickles now. He’s my last hope.”
Wyre Council commented: “Even though there is a new national planning policy, each application still has to be assessed on its own merits and cannot be compared with other developments, however similar they might seem.
“One of the key issues is sustainability. The aim of the policy is not to create new isolated dwellings in the countryside. Development must relate to genuinely redundant buildings and improve the local area to be considered in accordance with this policy.
“Planning is an emotive subject involving the interpretation of planning policy in each case. Wyre officers look at each case individually and assess whether it is in accordance with planning policy.”
It added there is always the right of appeal.