Bricket Wood residents reject vet's plans

PUBLISHED: 09:46 22 September 2009 | UPDATED: 14:27 06 May 2010

A CATTERY owner who plans to open a veterinary clinic next to her Bricket Wood business has met a strong wall of local opposition. Bernadette Oliver, who owns the cattery on Bucknalls Lane and the barn next door, has applied for planning permission to co

A CATTERY owner who plans to open a veterinary clinic next to her Bricket Wood business has met a strong wall of local opposition.

Bernadette Oliver, who owns the cattery on Bucknalls Lane and the barn next door, has applied for planning permission to convert the vacant barn, previously an office for an IT consultancy, into an outpatient department of a veterinary clinic.

But Bucknalls Lane residents who live close to the cattery such as 54-year-old Keith Matthews are opposing the application because, as Keith explained, they fear that a new veterinary clinic would increase traffic flow down the lane.

Keith, who has started a petition against the application with his wife Yvonne, said: "The owner of the cattery doesn't live here and can't appreciate how vulnerable this stretch of road is. There could be hundreds of vehicles squeezing through our narrow lane if the veterinary clinic is successful and that would pose a problem for local residents, children who walk to school via Bucknalls Lane and even the wildlife in the wood."

He added: "I'm also concerned that, if a change of use is granted from an office to a veterinary clinic, that will leave the path wide open for even more change. There's three acres of land at the back of the site just waiting to be developed into something far larger than a veterinary clinic."

The Matthews' have so far collected nearly 50 signatures from their Bucknalls Lane neighbours and Keith said that he was expecting many more: "We've only approached our closest neighbours so far and all of them bar none have voiced their support. I plan to present the petition to the District Council once are numbers are higher."

But Bernadette Oliver said that there was no need for local residents to worry. She explained: "The proposed veterinary clinic will only be open part-time, only one vet and one nurse will be based there and there will be no changes made to the barn. I'm confident, therefore, that there will be no increase in car flow or obstruction in the road."

She added: "By converting the barn into a veterinary clinic, the plan was to enhance the facilities already offered by the cattery and it will no doubt come in use to local dog-walkers too.


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