Rabbit centre under threat

PUBLISHED: 12:07 20 September 2007 | UPDATED: 15:16 12 May 2010

Caroline Collings with two of her rabbits – Pic: Daniel Wilson

Caroline Collings with two of her rabbits – Pic: Daniel Wilson

A RABBIT rescue centre could be forced to close after complaints from residents, claims the owner. Caroline Collings has been running her Rabbit Residence Rescue at Wallers Close, Great Chishill, since 1998. However, following a series of complaints she

A RABBIT rescue centre could be forced to close after complaints from residents, claims the owner.

Caroline Collings has been running her Rabbit Residence Rescue at Wallers Close, Great Chishill, since 1998.

However, following a series of complaints she has been asked by South Cambs District Council to make an application for change-of-use.

If this is refused the centre will be shut down.

Miss Collings said: "All I'm doing here is trying to save rabbits' lives.

"I don't make any money from the residence and have to work long hours - there are so many things in the world people would be better off moaning about.

"The initial complaints came from residents in Wallers Close who were concerned about access.

"I can understand that they don't want a lot of traffic going past their houses, but we are only open to the public by appointment on Saturdays."

Her father Derek Collings said: "Our other daughter previously had horses on the site, and we had planning permission for a stable.

"However, when she went to college we moved the horses and let Caroline keep her rabbits there.

"We didn't think we would need to make any planning applications as we only have a few sheds on there now.

"Unfortunately Great Chishill Parish Council has recommended that our application be rejected.

"We have written to them to try to find out the reasoning behind this, but have received no response yet.

"It is a shame because we have lived in the village for 25 years and would like find an amicable solution that suits everyone."

An online petition set up by one of Miss Collings' friends has collected more than 1000 signatures in support of the Rabbit Residence.

A spokesman for South Cambs District Council said: "South Cambridgeshire District Council received an application for a change of use of land off Wallers Close in Great Chishill.

"We have received six letters against the planning application and a petition of 1084 in favour of the application.

"At present we do not know when a decision will be made."

Great Chishill Parish Council refused to comment on the application.

Miss Collings, who has the support of the RSPCA and Wood Green Animal Shelter, said: "33,000 rabbits are abandoned in the UK every year, mainly because of people moving house or other changes in personal circumstances, so I provide a valuable service.

"They are such affectionate creatures and I don't know what I'll do with the ones I've got at the moment if we have to close down."

A petition to support Miss Collings' campaign is available at: www.gopetition.com/petitions/keep-the-rabbit-residence-open.html.

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