A dog boarding business has been given the go-ahead to turn a five-acre field into a dog training centre and a stables, despite protests over the access onto a major rat-run.
The main concerns centred on a new access into the field from the busy Berry Pomeroy to Marldon road, which will have to be built because the other two entrances in to the site are considered too dangerous.
But councillors were told that even when the new entrance is open, the other two will have to remain because there are rights of way over them.
Marldon parish councillor Trevor Pennington warned that turning the field into a dog training and exercising field, along with two stables for horses, would increase traffic on the road which already sees more than 3,500 vehicles travelling along it every day.
He said that an interactive sign warning traffic to slow down had been sited right where the new entrance will be and he declared: ‘It couldn’t have been a worse place.’
He warned there was already road flooding from the fields and the new track that will have to be built, along with the entrance and the buildings on the site, would only make it worse.
The planning application was ‘retrospective’ and one stable and fencing was already in place on the site, councillors were told.
Councillors on South Hams Council development management committee carried out a site inspection before making their decision.
They said they wanted to see drainage conditions attached to the planning permission, as Erme Valley councillor Thomas Holway said: ‘I didn’t think there was a problem with the access’.
Cllr Ian Bramble urged councillors to consider the ‘economic benefit’ of the proposals.
Les Snodgrass, who has been running a dog boarding business in Paignton for the last eight years, told the committee he had been looking for a site to exercise dogs safely.
He said the site at Marldon was outside a built up area and next door to a kennels.
‘It is easy for us to secure the dogs and we have a dog behaviourist that works for us. The whole thing is around trying to provide a facility for looking after dogs,’ he told councillors.
He said the concerns over traffic were ‘manageable’.
Neighbour Sheila Gilbert said she had lived along the road for 23 years and in that time traffic had increased at an incredible rate.
She warned that increasing the number of vehicles with the new entrance could ‘prove to be very dangerous’.
And Marldon Parish Council also objected, with parish councillor Gordon Paige warning that the Totnes road was already ‘overloaded’ and was bound to get worse with new housing developments nearby.
He also pointed out there was a public footpath running right through the fenced off area where horses are being kept.
The committee also imposed a condition that the new entrance should be eight metres wide, instead of the proposed five metres, to ensure vehicles with horse boxes or other trailers could access the field more easily.