A business owner has hit out at a council decision which has stopped her from converting her premises into a family home.
Susan Challioner is to close the family’s Catsaway Cattery business on Church Lane, Winmarleigh, at the end of next month after 12 years’ caring for felines.
But as she prepares to pull down the shutters, she has blasted Wyre Council, claiming it has been inconsistent in interpreting planning rules about permitted rural development.
Her decision to close is based on a mixture of the recession, health issues and the number of catteries now operating in the region.
After attempts to sell the business failed, she applied to the local authority to convert the about-to-be-redundant cattery, plus office/store/cleaning rooms/isolation unit into a new eco-friendly bugalow home for her family.
She says two applications for changes to residential use elsewhere in the borough were recently approved, but claims the council’s stance has now changed.
Her MP Eric Ollerenshaw, who represents Lancaster and Fleetwood, has asked council chiefs to review the case.
Meanwhile she has written to Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles detailing her outrage.
She says the decision has left her with a £2,000-plus bill for the failed application and added: “I want to retire over there. I’m going to end up with an empty building. It’s ridiculous really.”
A Wyre Council spokesman said: “Even though there is a new national planning policy, each application still has to be assessed on its own merits and cannot be compared with other developments, however similar they might seem.
“One of the key issues is sustainability. The aim of the policy is not to create new isolated dwellings in the countryside.
“Development must relate to genuinely redundant buildings and improve the local area to be considered in accordance with this policy.”