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SOUTH OXFORDSHIRE LOSES BID TO CLOSE KENNELS

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South Oxfordshire DC has been ordered to pay the price for losing a high court bid to close down a greyhound kennel...
South Oxfordshire DC has been ordered to pay the price for losing a high court bid to close down a greyhound kennels it says poses a danger to motorists on the A40 trunk road.

The council must pay almost£3,000 in legal costs bills run up in its abortive attempt to overturn an environment department planning inspector's decision that the kennels can stay open.

The kennels are housed in a former agricultural building off Mill Lane, Marston, near Oxford, and vehicles going to the site must turn off the A40 down a narrow country lane.

As long ago as 1996, the land's owner, Mr W McLoughlin, was refused retrospective planning permission to maintain the kennels use of the site on road safety grounds.

The council issued an enforcement notice requiring closure of the kennels, and Mr McLoughlin's appeal to the environment department against those decisions later failed.

But, undeterred, he again sought planning consent only to be refused a second time by the council. But this time, on November 30 last year, a planning inspector upheld his appeal.

The inspector granted planning consent subject to conditions that the kennels use would cease when Mr McLoughlin no longer occupies the land, and that the kennels are not used for boarding or breeding other people's dogs.

Mr McLoughlin said he expected the kennels only to generate about 18 car movements each week and, in the light of recent improvements at the junction with the A40 which had increased visibility, the inspector said the kennels were 'acceptable'.

At London's high court, deputy high court Judge Christopher Lockhart-Mummery dismissed the district council's appeal against the inspector's decision.

The inspector, he said, had been entitled to take the view that the kennels 'would have no material impact on highway safety' and that, if the land were instead used for agriculture, the traffic generated might even be greater.

The judge also rejected claims that the conditions imposed on the planning permission were not precise enough to ensure that the kennels use of the site remained personal to Mr McLoughlin or to avoid intensification of the use over time.

The district council was ordered to pay the DETR's legal costs bills, which came to£2,967. South Oxfordshire will also have to cover its own legal costs.

Strand News Service

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