Published: 11:16, 03 May 2021
| Updated: 13:14, 03 May 2021
An animal charity that has had to apply for permission to continue to run its sanctuary has been inundated with support.
The Happy Pants Animal Ranch, which is locked in a battle with neighbours over its noisy geese and cockerels, needs to change the use of the land in Iwade Road, Bobbing, from agricultural to animal rescue after moving to the new site earlier this year.
The rescue centre – a sanctuary for 350 unwanted or abandoned animals from cows, dogs, ducks and sheep to goats, parrots, pigs and more – was previously based at Yelsted.
The planning application, which has been lodged with Swale council, also includes new fencing and gates, mobile field shelters, small animal houses, shipping containers for storage and the stationing of a caravan for use as a residential unit for staff.
It, so far, has been met mostly with support including from Cllr James Hunt (Con), for The Meads.
He said: "Whilst I don’t usually agree with retrospective applications, I believe this application has come about through the lack of understanding of the planning system rather than a deliberate act of having development without gaining relevant permission.
"It is understandable that the use as an animal sanctuary was considered to be acceptable as the land has a historic use for the keeping of animals and this should be considered when decisions are made on whether the proposed use is acceptable or not."
He added: "The sanctuary doesn’t just provide for the welfare of animals but is an important place for many local residents to visit. I have seen the work the charity does around mental health, and how the sanctuary is good for the wellbeing of many of the volunteers.
"The proposals are what’s needed to provide a successful animal sanctuary and, in my view, is an acceptable use of the land."
Cllr Hunt is among more than 50 people who have lodged letters of support on the council's planning portal.
There are, however, a couple of objections. Concerns include that the land is "not suitable" for the amount of animals the charity cares for and that the sanctuary is "excessively noisy".
The application comes as the charity was told it could end up being fined £2,500 after complaints were made about its noisy geese and cockerels – of which it has about 20 and 50, respectively.
It was asked to stop “allowing animals on the land to make an unreasonable level of noise” by Swale council or face being slapped with a fine.
Noise was also said to be coming from a generator at the site.
To view the plans click here and use the reference 21/500173/FULL.