Skip navigation Home Page News and Events Help Complaints Legal Information Contact Us Top of Page

Agenda item

DM/18/02035/FPA - The Gate House, Dalton-le-Dale, Seaham

Partial change of use of existing stable/barn to 10 dog kennels and construction of freestanding storage building.


The Senior Planning Officer, Paul Hopper, gave a detailed presentation on the report relating to the abovementioned planning application, a copy of which had been circulated (for copy see file of minutes).  Members noted that the written report was supplemented by a visual presentation which included photographs of the site.  The Senior Planning Officer, PH advised that Members of the Committee had visited the site and were familiar with the location and setting.  The application was for partial change of use of existing stable/barn to 10 dog kennels and construction of freestanding storage building and was recommended for approval, subject to conditions as set out within the report.


The Senior Planning Officer, PH noted the application was part retrospective, in terms of the change of use, with the freestanding storage that was proposed being a new pre-fabricated structure.  It was explained that access would be the same as The Gate House, from the B1432 and plans showed the site layout and context with other nearby properties.  Members noted there had been no objections from statutory consultees and that the Environmental Health and Contaminated Land Sections had no objections, subject to conditions.


The Senior Planning Officer, PH noted there had been objections from Local Members and also from Dalton-le-Dale Parish Council who had cited concerns relating to detrimental impact from noise, odour and drainage.  It was added there had been four letters of objection received, with issues including: impact upon residential amenity; overlooking and loss of privacy; parking and means of access; drainage and the storage and removal of waste material; impact upon existing trees; the retrospective nature of the application; animal welfare; loss of property value; disruption during the construction phase; discrepancies within the application; and restrictions placed upon use.


The Senior Planning Officer, PH noted that the application was for permission for the applicant only, and was conditioned as such, for his use only and only for the period which he occupies the building.  In response to objections relating to noise, the Council’s Environmental Health Section had noted no objections to the application, with suggested mitigation and conditions.  In terms of managing waste, the Applicant had noted less than best practice in the past, however, had agreed to appropriate mitigation and also that a Kennel Management Plan be submitted to the Planning Authority.



The Senior Planning Officer, PH noted that the design was deemed to acceptable, with the existing structure not being altered externally and the proposed new structure not being incongruous with the area.  It was noted the Highways Section had no objections, with the use not being for business and use being restricted.  Members noted that it was felt drainage issues could be dealt with via condition and there had been no objections from Northumbrian Water or the Contaminated Land Section.


The Senior Planning Officer, PH noted that the balance test within paragraph 11 of the NPPF noted refusal if the harm “significantly outweighed the benefits” and added that given the positive use of part of an existing building, the restriction to personal use by the applicant, and suite of conditions as set out in the report the recommendation was therefore for approval.


The Chairman thanked the Senior Planning Officer, PH and asked Local Councillor, J Maitland to speak in relation to the application.


Councillor J Maitland noted she spoke on behalf of both herself and fellow Local Member, Councillor A Napier in objection to the application.  She added she had spoken to the Officer and had asked for the application to be determined by Committee so that all the issues could be looked at.  It was noted that she felt 20 dogs was a lot, two per kennel, and she had visited the site.  Councillor J Maitland added that there were 4-5 houses in close proximity to the site and that she felt in summer they would need to close doors and windows in respect of odour.  She asked in terms of the conditions within the report, who would monitor and enforce these.  Councillor J Maitland noted she would ask that the Committee refused the application.


The Chairman thanked Councillor J Maitland and asked the Chairman of the Dalton-le-Dale Parish Council, Parish Councillor Mrs M Oliver to speak in objection to the application.


Parish Councillor M Oliver thanked Members for the opportunity to address their concerns to the Committee.  She explained that their initial objections centred around control of noise, odour, site drainage, the disposal of foul water and the close proximity of the site to neighbouring properties.  She added that matters regarding site drainage and the disposal of foul water, had, in their opinion been addressed.  It was explained that the Parish Council still maintained their objection with regard to noise, odour and the close proximity of the site to neighbouring properties.


Parish Councillor M Oliver noted that Members attended the site and therefore would note the close proximity of local residents to the application site, it being no great distance away to other properties.  She noted Members would hear further representations by local residents, and they had their own important points to make on the matter.




Parish Councillor M Oliver explained there were a number of children living with residents in close proximity to the site, with some of these being foster children with sensory differences.  It was added that these sensory differences can affect behaviour, and can have a profound effect on a person's life. 

Parish Councillor M Oliver noted that their health and wellbeing had suffered as a result of burning waste and bedding materials.  It was noted that children like to play outside and that parents were naturally concerned for their welfare and added that barking and howling dogs would only create more distress.


Members were referred to paragraph 108 of the NPPF which stated that planning policies and decisions should ensure that new development is appropriate for its location taking into account the likely effects, including cumulative effects, of pollution on health, living conditions and the natural environment, as well as the potential sensitivity of the site or the wider area to impacts that could arise from the development.  It was added that they should mitigate and reduce to a minimum potential adverse impacts resulting from noise from new development and avoid noise giving rise to significant adverse impacts on health and the quality of life.  Parish Councillor M Oliver explained that they believed that this development will have a significant adverse effect on the health and quality of life of those people living nearby.  She added that the Environmental Health team commented on this in their initial response and she noted 20 dogs, housed two per kennel had the potential to generate notable levels of noise particularly if the animals became distressed causing them to bark and howl for continuous periods.  Parish Councillor M Oliver explained that the follow-up response from Environmental Health, following two site visits, when only 10 dogs were housed, was that the ‘granting of planning permission for the development may potentially result in a statutory nuisance being created’.  Parish Councillor M Oliver noted that the addition of a further 10 dogs would simply exacerbate this situation and that one would expect the applicant to operate with the maximum capacity in the facility should it be approved.


Parish Councillor M Oliver noted that agreeing the application would have a significant adverse impact upon the residential amenity of surrounding occupiers, affecting their health and quality of life from environmental and neighbourhood noise.  She added that the noise policy statement for England, to be read in conjunction with the NPPF, referred to this.


Parish Councillor M Oliver noted Members may consider that reasonable steps were being proposed to mitigate and minimise adverse effects on health and quality of life sufficient to mitigate the potential for a statutory nuisance.  However, she added that the underlying fact remains clear to the Parish Council, taking into account the guiding principles of sustainable development, as detailed in the NPPF, and the second aim of the Noise Policy Statement for England, it did not mean that such adverse effects cannot occur.  She added that she would ask the Committee to consider the matter carefully.


Parish Councillor M Oliver noted that the NPPF stated that development should protect tranquil areas which have remained relatively undisturbed by noise and are prized for their recreational and amenity value for that reason. 

It was added that Parish Council had noted the planning conditions proposed to control the precise nature of the use, the number and breed of dogs housed, however, they were unfortunately still of the opinion that the development would have a significantly adverse impact in terms of noise, odour and their quality of life for the reasons outlined.


Parish Councillor M Oliver also pointed out that the Planning Officers report expresses disappointment that some of the works have already been completed and as such were unauthorised.  It was added the Parish Council were also disappointed that this has happened and were concerned that illegal burning of animal waste has occurred.  Parish Councillor M Oliver suggested a registered trainer would have known these rules and regulations.


Parish Councillor M Oliver thanked the Committee for listening to the points raised and reiterated the Parish Council felt the adverse impacts of the application outweighed the benefits and urged the planning committee to give the matter very careful consideration and refuse the application.


The Chairman thanked Parish Councillor M Oliver and asked Ms E Reay to speak in objection to the application.


Ms E Reay explained she had been asked to speak on behalf of the residents at Committee today regarding the change of use application.  She added that residents had all sent letters of objections to Planning Officers and noted they had not been published on the Planning Portal, accordingly Ms E Reay noted she would  summarise some of the points.


Ms E Reay noted The Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) have categories of greyhound trainers as: Professional; to train a maximum of 12 dogs; Owner/Trainer who shall train a maximum of 2 without the need for licensed kennels; and Hobbyist, up to 6 dogs


Ms E Reay noted the Applicant had been running Dalton Kennels Limited, which was only dissolved on 2 October 2018, which she presumed was for the benefit of the planning application.  She added that the Applicant was named, together with the occupants of The Gate House, as persons of significant interest and control of the Applicant’s wife’s company, Hesledon Enterprises Limited.  Ms E Reay noted at Paragraph 65 of the Planning Officer’s report the statement that the site would be used for personal use as part of an ongoing hobby was probably a temporary matter and would probably be resurrected as part of Hesledon Enterprises if planning permission is granted.


Ms E Reay added that at paragraph 5 the application was noted as being retrospective, stating 10 dogs were housed in a barn.  She asked why then did it show on UK Dog Racing that the Applicant was already the trainer of 16 runners.  She added that the application did not meet the requirements of GBGB as the plans did not meet the appropriate drainage, fencing, flooring, exercise paddock requirements.


Ms E Reay referred to paragraph 27 and asked if the Applicant had gained permission from GBGB to exceed his number of greyhounds and also asked if the Recorder data actually been verified, as dogs barking all day and every day had been witnessed by all immediate neighbouring properties.


Ms E Reay noted paragraph 39 stated that the number of dogs in the future would not increase and added that it had been noted and seen by an Enforcement Officer when he visited the barn that there were excessive amounts of dogs in the barn before this application was even submitted.  In reference to paragraph 40 she noted existing residential properties were actually between 25 and 27 metres away.


In reference to paragraph 42 she explained that only one resident was asked to Lodge barking issues and although other residents reported barking problems, which are all day and every day, this did not seem to have been recorded or reported.  Ms E Reay added that in paragraph 43 the Officer had stated that the increase in dog numbers had the potential to cause further noise and asked therefore why planning permission was being recommended.  She added that paragraph 45 of the planning report stated that greyhounds generate less noise than some other dog breeds.  Ms E Reay noted this was not the case when you have a pack of dogs, as witnessed at most greyhound events.


Ms E Reay referred to paragraph 62 where the Officer stated that it was disappointing that some of the works have already been carried out.  She noted that the Applicant only applied for permission after he was reported to the Council.  She added that paragraph 65 stated that the Applicant was a hobbyist, though she felt that with sixteen greyhounds under his control he could not be classed as a hobbyist.


Ms E Reay noted both the Applicant and his wife worked full time and therefore she felt there was a question in terms of who would look after the extra animals: 20 greyhounds; three horses; ducks, geese, chickens; and their own house dogs.


Ms E Reay asked, if permission were granted, who would police activities at the application site noting that surely Durham County Council could not afford their Officer’s time and cost to an already overstretched budget.  She also noted the access was on to a 60 mph road and it was asked if Highways had been consulted.


Ms E Reay noted some residents had moved to Cold Hesledon with foster children with special needs, because of the nature of our little community and the once peaceful nature and life we used to have.  She noted that these children’s welfare needed to be considered and they should be allowed to live a peaceful and happy life, that they have not had in the past, without noise from barking dogs and the constant turmoil that we have endured over the past months.


Ms E Reay noted residents would urge the Planning Committee to refuse the application on the grounds of the detrimental impact the application would have on resident’s quality of life because of noise and odour which would impact on our everyday lives. 


She added that the upset this planning application has caused a small community was massive, to the point where some residents had considered putting their properties up for sale after living and loving being in Cold Hesledon for over twenty years.  She noted residents had suffered for months during the long hot summer with burning of waste, barking dogs to the point they could not leave windows and doors open.  Ms E Reay noted that the planning application, if approved, would have a detrimental and sad impact on residents and noted resident urged the Committee refuse the application.


The Chairman thanked Ms E Reay and asked the Applicant, Mr P Bedding to speak in support of his application.


Mr P Bedding noted his wife had asked neighbours as regards noise, with a reply being “if we heard noise, you would know”.  He noted that a noise activated recorder had not recorded any howling or barking from the dogs.  He added that Members had attended the site earlier today and noted that the dogs had not barked during the visit, only one bark, and no barking when Councillors had entered the kennels.  He explained that when the dogs were exercising they did not bark.


Mr P Bedding explained he had young children and added that in terms of noise and odour, the nearby industrial estate, around 30 metres away, had two spray painting facilities, and there was odour from the industrial estate.  In terms of incinerating waste, he had been advised as regards how to properly dispose of waste and this would be collected weekly by the Council.


Mr P Bedding noted the barn had been in place around 30 years and the new property nearby had been built around three years ago and there had been no complaints until the planning application had been submitted.  He added he had not known as regards the requirement for a change of use, however, as soon as he was aware he had submitted and application.


Mr P Bedding noted objectors had referred to barking, however, the dogs owned by those people barked, Jack Russells and a German Shepherd, more so than Greyhounds.  He added on the subject of noise there was more significant noise from sirens from the nearby Ambulance Station, located at the industrial estate.


In reference to having 16 runners, Mr P Bedding noted this was not the case and that keeping and racing greyhounds was a hobby to be enjoyed in his retirement, and that the numbers proposed were in order to have a number of runners in the event of any dogs becoming lame or if they came into season.  He noted his wife’s business was her own.


Mr P Bedding noted that wildlife had not and would not be harmed, adding no trees would be cut down and that there were no restrictions in term of his property.  He noted that property values had not been affected and that proposed new addition had been deemed to not look out of place.  He noted there would not be access before 6.00am or after 8.00pm and reiterated that as he has small children himself, he would not wish to upset anyone.  He asked that the Committee consider the recommendation of their Officer and approve the application.


The Chairman thanked all the speakers for their comments and asked the Senior Planning Officer, PH to respond to some of the points raised.


The Senior Planning Officer, PH noted that in terms of noise recording and issues, a representative from Environmental Health was in attendance at Committee.  In reference to the application being retrospective, the Senior Planning Officer, PH noted this was a legitimate process by which application could be made to seek to regularise a situation and the Applicant had every right to use this mechanism. 

In reference to a comment asking if the Highways Section had been consulted, he reiterated that they had and that they had not objected on the basis the application was for personal use and with the conditions as proposed within the report.


The Senior Planning Officer, PH added that there were also conditions within the report as regards noise and times as regards use would be covered within the Kennel Management Plan.  He added that in terms of who would enforce the conditions, then this would be for the Authority, with there being mechanisms in place for resident to report any issues.


The Chairman thanked the Senior Planning Officer, PH and asked the Committee for their comments and questions.


Councillor A Laing noted in her opinion the amenity of nearby residents was being affected, with barking at night and she noted the proximity to nearby properties had been shown in the Officer presentation and on the site visit.  It was added an issue in terms of noise was still open with the Authority.  Councillor A Laing noted that she was not reassured in terms of being able to mitigate impact by personal use or a management plan.  She added that she felt noise will occur and that by virtue of this disturbance that the residential amenity of those living nearby would be negatively impacted, contrary to saved Easington Local Plan Policies 1 and 35 and Paragraph 180 of the NPPF.  Accordingly, Councillor A Laing moved that the application be refused.


Councillor J Robinson noted he seconded the motion for refusal of the application and asked how 20 dogs in addition to the other animals mentioned could be managed effectively.  The Chairman noted that when on the site visit it was clear the other animals mentioned were located in another area, not the application site.


Councillor P Jopling noted that when attending the site visit the dogs looked very well kept, however, she tended to agree with the comments from residents in terms of potential commercial activity in the future.


Councillor O Temple asked as regards enforcement action and paragraph 6 of the report, in relation to no trade or business and the dogs to be owner by the Applicant only.  He asked how ownership was established.  The Chairman noted that it was now a requirement for dogs to have a microchip that would carry such details.  The Senior Planning Officer, PH noted a standard condition had been used in this regard that was felt to be fit for purpose in this regard.  The Chairman allowed the Applicant to speak in order to clarify, Mr P Bedding noted that the dogs were microchipped and registered with the GBGB.


Councillor J Blakey noted concern in respect of potential issues and added that any animals lame or in season would still be on site and therefore potentially have an impact.


Councillor D Brown noted he was wary of retrospective applications, however, given the Officer’s report and the two explanations given, he felt the Applicant should be given the benefit of the doubt.  He added that within the Applicant’s statement he had noted the high GBGB standards included “greyhound proof” fencing.  Councillor D Brown noted that there were no gates leading on to the main road and therefore this did not seem secure.


The Senior Environmental Health Officer, Ted Murphy noted that in terms of noise, odour and concerns as regards a number of dogs in close proximity, his site visits had not indicated any issues.  He noted indeed that three of the four complaints as regards noise were closed, with two of them having stated there had been a measureable improvement at the site.  In terms of the remaining outstanding complaint, he noted a letter had been sent out to ask for more evidence within 10 days else the matter would be closed. 


Councillor O Temple asked if the motion for refusal fell, did this mean the application was approved.  The Chairman noted that if that motion fell, then any other motion, including that for approval as per the recommendation, would require a proposer and seconder as usual prior to a vote.  The Chairman noted the motion for refusal had been proposed and seconded and asked Members to vote.




That the application be REFUSED as it would, by virtue of noise and disturbance, result in an adverse impact on residential amenity for the occupiers of the nearby dwellings, which could not be sufficiently mitigated by planning conditions, contrary to Policies 1 and 35 of the District of Easington Local Plan and Paragraph 180 of the NPPF.


Supporting documents:


Democratic Services
Durham County Council
County Hall
County Durham
03000 269 714