Rabbit boarding not a rural business

A relocated rabbit boarding business and tied dwelling on a greenfield site in the countryside outside a Leicestershire village were rejected by an inspector as not requiring a rural location.

The appellants contended that the boarding business for rabbits and guinea pigs was a land-based rural business which required a countryside location. The inspector acknowledged that the business aimed to provide the best possible facilities for the animals but found no evidence that less outdoor space and alternative concrete runs would harm animal welfare. The appellants made comparisons to a cattery or dog kennel business which, they claimed, were widely accepted as requiring rural locations but the inspector noted the council’s view that unlike the proposal, there are usually issues of noise and smell associated with catteries and kennels which can sometimes necessitate a more isolated location. She concluded the proposal was not for a rural business.

The inspector was satisfied that the appellants adequately demonstrated an essential need for a full-time worker to live on site in connection with the proposed boarding business. However, having regard to national and local planning policy seeking to avoid isolated new homes in the countryside, and without an essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work to justify the new dwelling, the inspector found the proposal contrary to NPPF paragraph 79 and to policies in an emerging local plan and she dismissed the appeal.

Inspector: Beverley Wilders; Hearing


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