Randalstown boarding kennels approved despite concern over ‘proximity to care home’

A planning application for boarding kennels and exercise yard in Randalstown was granted permission by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s planning committee at a meeting on Monday evening.
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Planning officer Ashleigh Wilson told councillors two objections had been received concerning the “suitability of dog kennels close to a care home and the impact on residents”.

Speaking at the meeting, planning agent Joe Carey said: “There is nowhere in planning policy that states kennels should be located in an urban area. Out of 123 licensed boarding kennels in Northern Ireland, ten are in the Antrim and Newtownabbey Council area. There are no boarding kennels within settlement limits. There were 13,000 licensed dogs in this council area pre-Covid.

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“At this small scale proposal, there will be no additional staff. The operator will be on site at all times.”

Mossley Mill. Pic: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough CouncilMossley Mill. Pic: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council
Mossley Mill. Pic: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

A report to the committee says: “This care home is located approximately 100 metres away from the application site with an agricultural field separating the two sites.”

Antrim DUP Alderman John Smyth asked why the proposed development at Moneyrod Road would be in a rural location.

Mr Carey indicated pets need care “round the clock” unlike agricultural animals and may require medication. He added the proposed kennels could board ten dogs at a time. The proposed facility would be located at the applicant’s own home.

Security Dogs

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Barry Diamond, the council’s principal planning officer, noted the council has approved a number of kennels for security dogs “in close proximity” to the airport previously.

He acknowledged there are a number of countryside locations for boarding kennels, adding some may have changed from other business uses or through farm diversification. “Most kennels have been there forever and a day,” he commented.

The application was recommended for refusal because there are “no overriding reasons why this development is essential in this rural location”, the report said.

Threemilewater Alliance Alderman Tom Campbell moved the recommendation to refuse the application, seconded by Ballyclare DUP Councillor Jeannie Archibald-Brown. The proposal fell after seven councillors voted against with four in favour and one abstention.

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Ald Smyth proposed planning permission be granted saying: “There is an over-riding need for these dog kennels in the countryside.”

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His proposal was seconded by party colleague Threemilewater Cllr Sam Flanagan. Ald Smyth stated: “It is well away from neighbours.”

Macedon Alliance Cllr Billy Webb MBE asked if permitting this proposal would set a precedent. He was told it would not “open the door to other forms of development that would not be kennels”.

Permission was granted after seven councillors voted in favour with four against and one abstention.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter