An application to build two greyhound kennels in Wisbech has been rejected by Fenland District Council’s (FDC) planning committee – which suggested that the development could breach residents’ human rights.  

The new kennels would have replaced an existing kennel at 10 Redmoor Lane in the town – increasing the number of dogs living there from around 30 to more than 100 – which locals say makes them feel “like we’re living in hell”.  

Kathleen Gough, who lives fewer than 100 feet from the kennel, tearfully told the committee that her family has “no quality of life any more” because of it, while Andrew Gough said that he’s under “constant stress” and that “the dogs get inside your head”.  

Cllr Jan French, advocating for the application’s refusal, said that she “cannot believe this application has been recommended for approval” to the committee by FDC planning officers.  

“You’re breaching the human rights of these people,” she said. “You’re taking away their enjoyment and peace of their homes and you’re making them ill.” 

Cllr Roy Gerstner, also criticising the application, went as far as to liken the noise from barking dogs to torture.  

“It is known, in some countries, to put people in cells and put barking dogs in the cell to break people down,” he said. “That’s not quite the case here, but it’s a known fact.” 

Speaking to the committee in his capacity as ward councillor, Cllr Steve Tierney advised the committee to reject the application, playing a minute-long audio clip of dogs howling and barking that he said was recorded at the Goughs’ home during his address.  

No representative for the applicant, Harlow Town Greyhound Entertainment, attended the planning committee to defend the application, but councillors heard from an independent consultant that the noise levels at the kennel is currently acceptable in legal terms and that replacing them with the new ones would actually reduce overall noise levels, particularly in the evening and at night.  

This is because the new kennels would be sound-proofed, have mechanical ventilation rather than open windows and an acoustic screen outside for when the dogs are exercising, planning documents say.   

But councillors said they didn’t find the noise assessment carried out to be credible and questioned how effectively noise from the dogs could really be contained.  

“It’s common sense,” Cllr Sidney Imafidon said.  

“You can’t have reduced noise with an increased number of dogs.”  

The committee voted unanimously to reject the application.