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Animal rehoming centre approved after locals raise ‘noise and odour’ fears

Drake House in Langstone, pictured in July 2023 (Pic: Google)

ANIMAL welfare charity Blue Cross plans to open a new rehoming centre on the edge of Newport that will serve as its “main base” in Wales.

City council planning officers have approved a proposal to convert Drake House, in Langstone Business Village, into offices and a pet rehoming centre.

The charity currently operates out of a smaller premises in Willenhall Street and hopes the new site will allow it to “double the number of pets and people helped over the next three years”, according to a council report.

Blue Cross also intends to hire three more members of staff at the new Langstone site.

The council said the charity’s ambitions are “welcomed in principle”. 

The new centre is where staff will “coordinate the rehoming of pets” rather than being a place “typically used for keeping pets overnight”, although some smaller animals could be kept there temporarily.

Animals will also come to the centre for “assessment, behavioural training sessions… [and] to receive veterinary care”, the council planners said in their report.

The application marks the second attempt to open a rehoming centre at Drake House.

An initial bid was refused because it could have led to a loss of trees and the “enclosure of a prominent and open landscaped space” of 180 square metres for a dog training area.

The new application, for which planning permission has been granted, includes a “dog space” of 116 square metres, surrounded by a 1.8 metre high fence.

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Five neighbours objected to the second application, arguing there were “no significant material changes” from the original proposal, and “noise and odour impact” could affect nearby residents.

They also raised concerns around increased traffic and parking, “disruption” caused by animals staying overnight at the centre, and the “compatibility” of the change of use of the land.

Langstone Community Council also said it was “inevitable… there will be noise and bad odours” from dogs and warned of “the danger of rodents”.

The rehoming centre could also have an “effect” on property values, the community council claimed.

Local authority planners noted Drake House had been on the market but attracted only “limited interest” in the past year, and “the site is now open to alternative use”.

Turning to residents’ objections, the officers said the charity’s work in Willenhall Street had not resulted in any known breaches of planning conditions, concluding it was “reasonable to anticipate that using these measures again will protect neighbouring residential amenity”.