Five-star boarding facility gets go-ahead to expand from eight to 20 dogs at farm site

Blakeston Croft Farm, Blakeston Lane near Thorpe Thewles
-Credit: (Image: Google)

A five-star dog boarding facility has been given planning permission to expand at a Stockton farm.

The business, taking pets while their owners are at work or on holidays, can now accommodate 20 dogs rather than eight after Stockton Council approved its plan for a purpose-built brick kennel block. Two buildings, previously used for storage, are also to be repurposed at Blakeston Croft Farm off Blakeston Lane near Thorpe Thewles.

A "niche business" breeding sheep and raising calves is run from a barn at the farm along with the dog boarding facility and breeding programme licensed by Stockton Council, says Steve Barker, managing director of Prism Planning, in a planning statement. He added: "They have their own dogs and train working dogs.

"The applicants live onsite in an agricultural worker’s dwelling erected in 2022. The existing boarding activities allow up to 8 boarding dogs on the site.

"This includes both day boarding and those staying longer terms with all facilities registered and monitored by the council's animal licensing and welfare team. The proposals seek to provide boarding places for a further 12 dogs on site to a maximum of 20 boarding dogs."

The new building would provide three more kennels while the refurbished and moved pair of former storage buildings would house another six dogs. A new dog reception building has a drop-off point for customers and another three kennels, with a paddock as a dog exercise area.

The kennels had already been built and the reception building brought to the site "in the mistaken belief that such works constituted permitted development" which did not need planning permission. However Stockton Council has now given part-retrospective consent to the scheme.

'Acoustic report'

The plan was backed up with an "acoustic report" which concluded 20 dogs could be boarded there without noise nuisance. It found the noise from barking dogs was "barely audible externally".

There were no objections, including from councillors, members of the public or environmental health officers who agreed with a noise assessment after seeking to make sure the nearest neighbours were protected. Planning officers said the proposals meant to change the use of smaller buildings or erect new ones, and they would be "of an appropriate and sufficient scale and type".

The officers said it would not be visually intrusive or harmful as it was in the existing farmyard with other similar buildings, screened by conifers: "It is not considered that views onto these buildings would be readily available from wider public vantage points around the site.

"The buildings are small-scale, flat roof and considered to be sympathetic to its immediate surroundings of an agricultural farm and dog boarding business. They are considered to blend in with the countryside surroundings."

The plan was approved with conditions, including a limit of 10 kennels and 20 dogs at any time, to be housed in the kennels between 10pm and 8am with measures to manage barking noise.

For breaking news in your area direct to your inbox every day, go here to sign up to our free newsletter