COUNCILLORS have voted to refuse retrospective plans to build a shed to house greyhounds on a Green Belt site.

But more than half of Bradford Council’s District Planning Panel abstained on voting for the plan.

Almost 1,400 people had objected to the application to install a shed for seven dogs on a field in the Shipley area. However at a meeting of the panel held online on Wednesday members were told that many of the objections related to animal welfare concerns, rather than planning matters.

In the end the application was instead refused because it was an unsuitable development for the Green belt location.

The application was submitted by Habib Khan, who told members that the dogs had lived at his home on Haworth Road until his landlord gave him notice that he had to move them due to noise complaints.

The owner of the field had let him build the shed to house the dogs.

Planning officer Martyn Burke told members that an animal welfare officer had visited the site and found the animals to be in good condition.

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He added: “The issue is that this is inappropriate development for the Green Belt, and could only be approved if very special circumstances were shown.

“It is not a particularly attractive building.”

Askar Mahmood, speaking on behalf of the applicant, argued that the building did not harm the Green belt, and was not easily visible from the road. He added: “It is no different than an allotment shed - it only takes up a small portion of the site.”

He suggested that if needed the shed could be “camouflaged” with grass.

He added: “If these plans are refused we would have to put the dogs in a residential area, which would lead to neighbours complaining.”

Mr Khan said walking the dogs had proved beneficial to his health, and keeping them was a hobby, not a business.

He said: “Most people who object were objecting to animal racing, which they want to be banned all over the world. An organisation encouraged people to object.”

He told members that if the plan was approved he would work to make the building more attractive.

Councillor Mohammed Amran (Lab, Heaton) asked planning officers what was the difference between this shed for dogs and a stable that would be allowed on Green Belt land.

And chair Councillor Shabir Hussain (Lab, Manningham) said: “The land is OK for cows and sheep but not for dogs?”

Officers said Green Belt land could be used for recreation, which could include horse riding, or agriculture. The keeping of dogs did not fall into this category.

Bob Power, legal officer, added: “Even then these developments would have to preserve the openness of the Green Belt. Looking at this building it is hard to say how it doesn’t impact the Green Belt.”

Councillor Paul Godwin (Lab, Keighley West) said: “Although I feel sympathy with the dog owner, this is in the Green Belt, and I can’t see any circumstance we could approve this and stay within our own planning guidance.”

Three members of the committee voted to refuse the plans. The other four abstained.