Published: 06:00, 13 September 2020
A pet crematorium is asking to build an animal end-of-life surgery and become a country-first facility.
The family-run Cherry Tree Farm Equine and Pet Crematorium in High Halden, near Tenterden , hopes to add a single-story building alongside its main cremation facility.
The site - which also houses the family's agricultural business - has developed over 20 years, and caters for both private individual and several vet surgeries.
Also working with Kent Police, the business provides a 24/7 callout service and assists with the clearance of traffic collisions involving wildlife.
Noting that 40% of homes now have a pet amid a growing rate of pet ownership, a supporting statement reads: "Now more than ever, pets are a core part of our family structures.
"Most pets require euthanasia and whilst our bonds with family pets have inevitably grown stronger over the years, many vet surgeries have not."
The statement then details the standard process, describing it as "a very clinical, emotionless and stressful process, which is not fair on the pet or the owner."
Seeking to offer a more comfortable and personable service, "Cherry Tree Gentle Farewells will look to revolutionise the entire experience, by ensuring a homely, private and peaceful setting for you to spend final moments with your pet."
Four to five clients will be served a day in two consultation rooms "allowing owners as much time as necessary once their pet has been put to sleep."
The new cremation building and associated equipment recently consented under planning reference 20/00573/AS, alongside the proposed veterinary surgery will create the first crematorium in the country offering a gentle, on-site euthanasia service.
An overwhelming number of comments have already been attached to the September 3 application, 100% of which are supportive of the proposal.
"It will bring so much comfort to us..."
One, penned by Lorna Tudball, reads: "This is a service which I feel is greatly needed.
"As a pet owner myself, and having used Cherry Tree's services before, the final journey for our much loved family member should be as dignified as possible, and with the compassion that David and his wonderful team have, it will bring so much comfort to us at such a sad time."
For more information, or to leave a comment on the application, search 20/01173/AS on the Ashford Borough Council Planning Portal.