Editor's pick: Green belt dog breeding held to exceed hobby

The owner of a dwelling in the Lancashire green belt has failed to overturn an enforcement notice requiring him to stop breeding dogs at the site and to dismantle part of a converted stable building used as kennels.

200-002-701 (West Lancashire DC)
200-002-701 (West Lancashire DC)

After buying the site in 2007, the appellant converted the stable to dog pens and erected kennels for eight Akita dogs. The number of animals had increased to 14, producing four litters per annum amounting to 20 puppies. The best puppies were kept and shown at dog shows while the others were sold. Two part-time assistants were employed, working on average 42 hours per week.

Hobby uses do not normally require regular weekly employment of others, the inspector noted. In his view, the keeping and breeding of dogs had reached a point where it was no longer incidental to the residential use. A breach of control had resulted and this involved land which had not originally formed part of the lawful curtilage of the dwellinghouse, he held.

He accepted that the change of use had occurred before the appellant bought the property. However, he considered it reasonable for the council to require the use to cease due to the adverse impact on the green belt. In reaching this view, he considered the appeal in the light of the judgement in Redhill Aerodrome Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2014], where the court held that the reference to "any other harm" in paragraph 88 of the National Planning Policy Framework relates to any other harm to the green belt and not to matters which did not relate directly thereto.

In upholding the notice, the inspector concluded that the appellant should be restricted to keeping four dogs on the land and not six as sought. This reflected the site's proximity to another dwelling and its amenity area, which was close to the kennels and dog runs.

Inspector: John Braithwaite; Hearing

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