Pets At Home surgery and superstore plan for Falmouth

Falmouth Packet: An artist's impression of the proposed Pets at Home store in Ponsharden An artist's impression of the proposed Pets at Home store in Ponsharden

A new veterinary surgery and pet supply warehouse could be on its way to Ponsharden after the plans met with no objections from Penryn Town Council.

National chain Pets at Home want to open a new outlet in the former Speedy Hire warehouse near Lidl off of Falmouth Road, but the scheme is only progressing in stages.

Earlier this month Cornwall Council approved an application for the company’s retail signage on the site, and consent was granted for the demolition of Speedy Hire and construction of a new retail warehouse way back in December 2011.

But the latest request comes from Companion Care, part of the Pets at Home Group, who would offer grooming and veterinary services from a 219 square metre “mezzanine” floor within the store.

Under the proposals, three consulting rooms would be built where general pet care advice is given and animals can receive basic preventative medicine and treatments such as worming or flea treatments.

There would also be a small theatre to enable “small scale procedures” such as spaying and X-raying, alongside pharmacy and laboratory space.

No objections have been entered to this latest application, although staff at neighbouring maritime businesses have raised concerns about the road layout and access to the site, particularly as “most are unaware the access road exists let alone that someone should want to enter it,” in the words of commenter Pauline Harry.

Earlier this month a highways officer commented on the application, but only to request “an extension of time to the normal consultation period in order that the highway and transportation implications of this proposal can be properly assessed.”

Stuart Saunders, from Rosemullion Veterinary Practice who are currently going through the planning process themselves for a new hospital to be built near Asda, welcomed the plans.

“They were always going to come down here, they are a chain, a massive chain across the country,” he said.

“All competition is healthy as long as the customer benefits.”

When pre-application advice was sought from Cornwall Council by Companion Care in November 2012, planning officer Helen Blacklock voiced “significant concerns over whether the use of this building by the Pets at Home business would be lawful in its own right.”

This was due to the fact that “planning permission was granted for a retail warehouse” and not for a “shop”.

Pets at Home, meanwhile, maintain that they operate “in the retail warehouse sector.”

Cornwall Council is due to make the final decision on the latest application by August 5.

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