by business editor Trevor Sturgess
Children's creches have been around for years, but sceptics might think it barking mad to do the same for dogs.
But that’s just what animal expert Nigel Tabony has been longing to do for more than a year.
His K9 Kindergarten should have taken off months ago, but he ran into planning problems with council officials who, he claims, found it hard to understand the concept.
“It’s a bit new and innovative and there aren’t any guidelines to tell councils what to do about it,” he says.
Tabony could have created up to eight jobs, including veterinary nurses and dog trainers by now but planning delays – and concerns about potential noisy barking from up to 18 dogs – have kept him waiting.
If it finally gets the go-ahead, dog owners will drop their pet off in the morning – or have it collected at home by a “pet taxi” – and collect in the evening.
Dogs will be teamed with dogs of similar size and be allocated a carer.
“Generally, it would be similar things you would do with children aged three to four but with dogs,” says Mr Tabony.
Leaving a dog in the house all day can cause stress, warns the former owner of an animal and bird park at Blean.
He accused Canterbury City Council of mistakenly thinking he wanted to set up boarding kennels, which requires a different licence and “not getting it.”
For months, he has had premises at John Wilson Business Park, Whitstable, but without a mutt in sight.
“Until I get a licence to operate, they won’t give me planning permission and the licensing people won’t give me a licence because I don’t have planning permission.”
A Canterbury City Council spokesman said: “The council has been working hard to get his business up and running.
“It is the first business of its kind in our district and because it is does not involve kennelling and therefore cannot be covered by our usual conditions, we have had to create new ones just for him. These conditions have now been approved by city councillors.
“He also needs to get planning permission and this is where the hold-up has occurred. He has made an application but we are still awaiting details from him about how he will manage noise from the premises before we can process the application and determine it.”