The owners of an exotic animals encounter business has written an open letter to Fenland Council asking what they should do after an appeal to relocate to a site at Ring’s End was rejected on Friday (4).
Kelly Bates who currently runs Exotic Animal Encounters with her husband Matthew from the family home in Whittlesey explained the move was essential as they have taken on so many unwanted animals they have outgrown their current premises.
However, in the letter posted on Facebook Kelly explains they were given a piece of land owned by her parents to relocate the animals and to site a static caravan to house the family, which includes their two children.
She also explains the family do not have enough finances to do as the planning inspector suggests and buy a property within a settlement somewhere.
The couple’s appeal against Fenland Council’s decision to refuse permission for change of use of land, erection of barn, siting of a mobile to house exotic animals and the temporary siting of a mobile home (retrospective) on land North East Of Radnor Farm Goosetree Road Rings End was heard by written submissions.
They were told of the inspector’s decision on Friday. In his decision letter planning inspector Ian Radcliffe, who visited the site on July 25, outlined the reasons for his decision - this included the fact the location is in an isolated location within the open countryside which cannot be justified.
He also says the proposed location is located in Flood Zone 3 - the zone with the highest probability of flooding.
But in her letter Kelly argues the point and says: “One of the reasons for the refusal was because the land is on a Flood Zone 3 area (when we started applying the land was a Flood Zone 2- But since you sorted those new “flood defences” we are now at more risk? After spending £10 million of tax payers money we are now more at risk? How? Why?
“We had a flood risk assessment written by a professional who you (the council) recommended who stated it was safe land to be on, and that it hadn’t flooded in over 80 years and was extremely unlikely to ever flood again.”
She says the family had applied for a county council owned farm - which would have solved their problems - but they were turned down.
Kelly adds: “We don’t have loads of money to buy new land, we can’t sell our house whilst the animals are there and even if we did we don’t make enough money to get another mortgage and there’s not enough collateral in our house to buy somewhere else so please Fenland tell me what I can do? I’m writing this through devastated tears. We have played by the rules, we have done everything we can to give our animals bigger and better homes and to continue to grow our business (which is an asset to this area) but instead you have just kicked us to the kerb.”