Retrospective plans for buildings at a Ceredigion animal sanctuary, which housed more than 50 pigs rescued from harrowing conditions at an illegal slaughterhouse in Pembrokeshire, have been refused.

Sash Bennett, of Tanrallt, Coxhead, Tregaron, through agent Rural Advisor Ltd, sought permission to keep a 2019-built livestock building for the housing of 60 pigs, and 2019-built timber field shelters and stables used to accommodate the pigs, along with one touring caravan used to provide overnight accommodation for volunteers, and one holiday pod and separate toilet.

The application relates to the Beneath the Wood Animal Sanctuary, which has been running since 2009, with a related a certificate of lawful development application submitted last year seeking the continued use of the land as a sanctuary for rescued pigs, sheep, horses, dogs and a cat currently ongoing.

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In that related application, Rural Advisor Ltd said: “There is no clearer example of the achievements of Beneath the Wood Animal Sanctuary that in the case of the 92 pigs which have called the Beneath the Wood Animal Sanctuary their home for the past four years.

“These pigs were rescued from an illegal slaughterhouse in Pembrokeshire. Following a high-profile court case which overturned a Destruction Order for 53 pigs (at the time) the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) stipulated that the animals were to be rehomed permanently with Sasha Bennett, the registered keeper, who had brought the legal challenge.

“The pigs are unable to be moved as they are deemed at risk of having Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) due to their consumption of dead animals, bricks, car parts and batteries during their time at the illegal slaughterhouse.”

In October 2019, the pigs were brought to Beneath the Wood Animal Sanctuary; the number of pigs had increased to 85 with a further number of pregnant sows, as they were not separated from boars at a government holding facility, the number ultimately ending up at 92.

County planners refused the application for a long string of reasons, including it would intensify the use of a substandard vehicular access, it is not supported by a Green Infrastructure Statement or detailed ammonia modelling, it is considered to give increase phosphorus levels within the River Teifi Special Area of Conservation (SAC) catchment area, and the glamping pod by virtue of its siting, devoid of the main farm building would result in the proliferation of development within the countryside and would be harmful to the character and visual appearance of the locality and special landscape area.