Council reject controversial cat shelter

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council has rejected a controversial planning application for a Cats Protection Centre in Hillsborough,


The animal charity had sought permission for a new centre on the Carnbane Road. Whilst it was initially given the go ahead by the Planners, a fierce reaction from local residents caused a rethink of the application following a Judicial Review into the decision.

Last week the council’s planning committee refused permission for the centre, which was to include a veterinary practice and education facilities.

When the application was first lodged submitted, the Senior Planning Officer said the application should be approved. He told the councillors: “We have considered all the material considerations and have looked in detail at the roads infrastructure.”

However, following objections to the application, a decision was put on hold.

In 2013 local residents voiced their concerns about the scale and position of the centre in a Green Belt area. A spokesperson for the residents, Brian Ogle, told the Star: “Not only will such a centre be totally inappropriate to a green-field site in Green Belt, the scale of the development could bring many hundreds of extra vehicles on to a narrow rural thoroughfare every week, and this would include school minibuses and coaches.”

Local residents have been staggered by the scale of the plans by the Cat Protection League for a Rehoming Centre which they say will be their “hub” property for Northern Ireland.

It was to include three conference rooms, operating theatres, 15 toilets, accommodation and parking for 25-30 staff.

Cats Protection’s Director of Operations, David Newall said the charity was “disappointed” that planning permission had been refused for the Hililsborough centre,

“We are disappointed that the planning application for our proposed adoption centre in Lisburn has been refused but we are presently reviewing the level of all our activities in the region and have no doubt that we will be continuing our work for the cats of Northern Ireland well into the future,” said Mr Newall.

“There is much work to do, but luckily we are blessed with many fantastically dedicated volunteers and staff, who in all weathers are out there working for the benefit of the cats. On a recent visit to Belfast,

“I had the pleasure of meeting several of these teams, including the volunteers who are catching and neutering feral cats throughout the region, come rain or shine.

“The site in Lisburn was going to compliment the work we are already doing in Dundonald, where last year we rehomed 414 cats to members of the public. Whatever direction we take in the future will be for the benefit of cats throughout the region.”