A councillor has spoken about a surprise decision to allow a gun dog trainer to continue running his business despite opposition.
District councillor Bryn Hurren supported residents who objected to the business being run on land in Stone Street, Boxford, for two years without planning permission.
Babergh District Council twice refused permission and issued enforcement proceedings against Paul Sims, and the case went to appeal in early November.
Mr Sims had applied to run Simbo’s Gun Dogs and Grooming on land he leases on the outskirts of the village, with a change of use of existing stables and land to dog kennels and a training ground.
He also wanted to build a new kennel block and a log cabin to live in.
Following an appeal, planning inspector Ken Barton allowed permission for the business on a trial basis for three years, saying it would be appropriate for the site.
In his report, Mr Barton said: “Shooting, and the use of dogs makes a significant contribution to the rural economy and the countryside is the environment in which the dogs would work.
“The proposal is not for one of the permitted uses set out. However, the training of gun dogs in particular would be an appropriate use in the countryside.
“Despite concerns that far more land is included in the site than is needed, the long, narrow nature of the land is ideal for learning to control dogs at a distance, and a pigeon shoot on the adjoining land would accustom dogs to shooting without the need for any use of pistols or other shooting simulators.”
Mr Barton said the council’s environmental health department had not been able to demonstrate noise had been a statutory nuisance, despite noise being “a major concern to local residents”
Councillor Hurren said residents were extremely surprised the permission was granted on appeal, particularly as the district council had not granted permission.
“I was shocked the appeal was allowed,” said Mr Hurren. “Residents were unhappy because of how close the business is to a residential area. But now he has been given permission and he is a resident of the village, we must all work together with him.”
Mr Hurren added: “During the trial period the council will need to monitor the business to check it is meeting all of its conditions and so long as that is the case and it is successful I believe he will be allowed to continue.”
The appeal inspector has attached 17 conditions to the permission being granted, covering restrictions on the numbers of dogs kept overnight, the type of dogs allowed, and the times the business is allowed to operate, with a restriction of no more than 30 hours of dog training per week.
Ten car parking spaces are to be provided for customers, and a hedgerow has to be planted to screen the business from the road.