A woman running a cattery in Four Marks has responded to people criticising her business.

April Carr received temporary planning permission from East Hampshire District Council to run the Longcroft Cat Hotel in Fairfield Green in May 2021.

An application for “continued use” of the cattery at the bottom of her garden is currently awaiting a decision from the council.

The 18 objectors cited noise and smells, light pollution, increased traffic and parking issues as reasons for refusal. But 34 people have commented in support of the proposal, many praising April for running an exemplary cattery.

She said: “Since being a little girl, I’ve always loved and taken care of animals and for many years I set my heart on opening my own small cat hotel in the English countryside. After a career in landscaping, financial management and raising three children alongside running a livery yard, I eventually had the chance to realise this dream here in East Hampshire.

“Starting your own business can be daunting, but my husband Sean and I established and developed ours with immense care. The cats, of course, receive five-star treatment, but from the beginning we have also given full and sustained consideration to our setting in a residential area of a beautiful rural village.

“We do not take this lovely location for granted and believe we have done everything possible to ensure that our home-based premises run smoothly and discreetly.”

April was surprised by some of the objections to the council and how some people had taken a more public approach to expressing displeasure. 

She said: “Letters distributed locally, and some remarks published in the Alton Herald, have said things about our business which many of our customers and supporters know not to be true.

“A minority evidently just does not like the idea of us being here, but we have been a bit taken aback by one or two objections as part of the planning process. They have been exaggerated or are simply without foundation.

“Keen to minimise our presence, we run by appointment only. We never have more than one customer here at a time. There is ample self-contained parking on our drive. Suggestions that visitors are here at all times of day and night are not borne out by CCTV, Ring doorbell camera footage, or by the electronic booking system which logs customer interactions and scheduled visits.

“We did initially install very low lumen lights in a solid panelled corridor, and in each unit of accommodation, but we haven’t used these lights for 18 months. On-site video proves this, but claims about nuisance lighting have been submitted.

“It also simply isn’t the case that the cats we look after howl day and night. A £15,000 full shutter system contains any noise, which two independent expert acoustic reports have verified. 

“Ultimately we want everyone to have 100 per cent confidence that we are a five-star operation. This makes immaculate hygiene a priority. To achieve this we use veterinary grade cleaning products and know that customers would not keep returning if the business smelled bad or looked poorly kept.

“Fortunately we receive excellent reviews and we have been awarded five stars by East Hampshire District Council.”