Selkirk dog care centre supporters defend business from 'unbearable' noise claim

Supporters of a Selkirk dog care centre owner facing a claim of 'compromising the tranquillity of the countryside' have rallied to offer her enthusiastic and unequivocal support.

By Paul Kelly
Friday, 25th February 2022, 3:39 pm
Jo-Anne Keatings.
Jo-Anne Keatings.

Jo-Anne Keatings has run Happy Hounds, which offers dog grooming and boarding services, from her home, Heath Cottage at Broadmeadows, in the Yarrow Valley, since 2014.

She recently submitted a retrospective planning application to Scottish Borders Council for the change of use of agricultural land to form a dog care facility.

The bid has resulted in one objection from a Graham Ritchie who claims the noise from barking dogs and vehicle movements was "unbearable" and "overwhelming" for villagers and that the business "compromises the tranquillity of the countryside."

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Jo-Anne and pooches.

It is a view which has surprised and shocked Miss Keatings, 31, who operates the business with the support of her partner Gary and daughter Layla.

She says she has always had a harmonious relationship with locals, adding: "I have never been aware of any locals being upset by anything that I have done. I know that what I do is a valid service and we'd like to be given the opportunity to expand which would provide more job opportunities in a rural location. I would just like to continue what I have done for the last eight years in peace and harmony.

"I would invite any locals who have any concerns to speak to me and I'd gladly go through it with them."

In his submission, Mr Ritchie claims that 15 dogs off-lead dogs are allowed to run up to locals whilst "other dogs are left at the property to bark", that the size of the cottage is not adequate for the business and that villagers cannot enjoy their gardens or local walks as a result of the noise and disturbance.

Daughter Layla.

He adds: "The noise pollution is unbearable and the amount of dogs on the property daily is overwhelming."

In response, Miss Keatings planning application has generated more than a dozen submissions of support.

Ian Watson, of Hangingshaw, Yarrowford, Selkirk, says: "Jo-Anne Keatings with support from partner Gary, made a brave decision some years back to start up a dog walking/grooming business. Through sheer hard work and determination they have successfully developed and invested in the venture to the point where a change of use of land west of Heath Cottage is required.

"The Yarrow Valley desperately needs young entrepreneurial professionals developing businesses with potential job opportunities for locals if it is to prosper."

Jo-Anne.

Margaret Knight, of Broadmeadows Youth Hostel, adds: "This is a very considerate young couple who are careful to have perfect control of the dogs in their care. The dog facility is never over-crowded and the dogs have adequate space and are always under control.

"We are satisfied that the use of the private track is not experiencing a heavier flow of traffic, pollution or extra noise.

"The business causes no compromises to the tranquillity of the area. We are out in the garden most days and we have never been aware of excessive dog barking or anything else upsetting the peace of the area."

Satisfied customer Elizabeth Rodgers, of Kingsland Avenue, Selkirk, says she supports the planning bid '100 per cent', adding: "I first met Jo in March 2020 when I needed to place my dog in daycare for two weeks. We were in a panic as my mum was in end of life care at home at the beginning of the pandemic, we were the only ones who could provide that care day and night. Jo was amazing. She picked up our boy and took him for the whole two weeks, which allowed us to focus 100 per cent on what my mum needed to the end. We wouldn't have been able to do that without Jo."

Partner Gary.