Pet char­ity is un­der threat

Stockport Times West - - NEWS - ALEX SCAPENS alex.scapens@men­media.co.uk @AlexS­capen­sMEN

AHOST of res­cued pets may need to be placed in ‘foster care’ af­ter com­plaints against an an­i­mal char­ity.

Nikki Jack­son, 33, who runs Welling­ton Boot Gar­den Farm from her Of­fer­ton home, has been told to find al­ter­na­tive premises for her 20 an­i­mals or be closed down.

It fol­lows a com­plaint, be­lieved to be from by a neigh­bour, and has left an un­cer­tain fu­ture for three rab­bits, four guinea pigs, nine chick­ens, two fer­rets, a tor­toise and a mouse.

Nikki, who lives on Marple Road, is des­per­ately try­ing to find new premises and homes for the an­i­mals af­ter a re­lo­ca­tion to a school in Stock­port fell through.

She said: “I am ab­so­lutely dev­as­tated.We­have­worked so hard to get this up and run­ning to be told it could all end hor­ri­bly.

“I love my work, ev­ery­one who works for the project is re­ally pas­sion­ate about an­i­mals.

“If we can’t find some­where very quickly we will have to close down.”

Welling­ton Farm opened in May 2013 as a busi­ness look­ing af­ter pets while own­ers went on hol­i­day.

In Fe­bru­ary 2014 it be­came a char­ity pro­duc­ing pet care lit­er­a­ture, tak­ing an­i­mals into schools for ed­u­ca­tional vis­its and look­ing af­ter res­cued pets.

Nikki says the to­tal amount of an­i­mal ac­com­mo­da­tion in her large back gar­den was 14 hutches and four chicken coops and the coun­cil told her no plan­ning per­mis­sion was needed.

But af­ter the com­plaint coun­cil of­fi­cers or­dered her busi­ness be shut down last Novem­ber. She did this but now they have re­turned to say the char­ity and its an­i­mals must go too.

A coun­cil spokesman con­firmed a com­plaint had been re­ceived and said: “A site visit re­vealed that the own­ers were op­er­at­ing an an­i­mal board­ing busi­ness as well as an an­i­mal sanc­tu­ary. In ad­di­tion, own­ers were also op­er­at­ing as a busi­ness and invit­ing schools to at­tend an ur­ban farm.

“This was a ma­te­rial change in the use of the land for which plan­ning per­mis­sion is re­quired.

“Given the lo­ca­tion of this prop­erty, the size of the gar­den and the prox­im­ity of other houses we are sat­is­fied the scale of the use was in­ap­pro­pri­ate and re­quired the own­ers to cease the use.

“The own­ers were given suf­fi­cient time to seek new premises. Plan­ning ad­vice which is pro­vided over the tele­phone is done so on an in­for­mal ba­sis.”

Any­one who can help re­home an­i­mals or find new premises can call Nikki on 07581 491094.

Andy Lam­bert

Nikki Jack­son of Welling­ton Boot Gar­den Farm, which may have to close

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