Search

Luxury cat enclosure for blind and deaf felines in Finsbury Park caught in planning permission row

PUBLISHED: 13:30 22 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:02 22 November 2017

The catio has been deemed an extension and will have to be torn down.

The catio has been deemed an extension and will have to be torn down.

Archant

A Finsbury Park woman faces a race against the clock to save a large sanctuary for her blind cats – after Hackney Council ordered her to tear it down.

The catio has been deemed an extension and will have to be torn down.The catio has been deemed an extension and will have to be torn down.

Two weeks ago, the council told Josie Hitchens she had one month to either get rid of the “catio” in Digby Crescent or apply for planning permission – otherwise, it would have to “consider using its enforcement powers”.

The standalone structure is three feet wide and six feet high and is used by Josie’s five cats. Four are blind and one is deaf.

“This catio serves to give my blind cats access to the outside and to enrich their environment,” Josie said.

“This is beyond distressing for me, as I have a learning difficulty and complex PTSD with a limited income.

“I have several therapy blind cats and they help me with my PTSD symptoms, but the council is not interested in this.”

Josie erected the catio in the garden of her ground-floor flat in 2012. But after a neighbour complained about it in November last year, and a planning officer visited her flat in August, she was told to remove it, get planning permission, or present proof of an existing permit.

She said: “Hackney Council are saying it’s an extension, which it is not as far as I am concerned.

"I do a lot of voluntary work with stray cats and almost all my cats have health issues"

Josie Hitchens

“It is not fixed to the wall. It does not touch the wall. I can poke a finger through it.

“It does not take up more than 50 per cent of my garden and cannot be viewed by any other gardens – you would need to look over using a ladder or a roof terrace to see it.”

Josie originally bought the catio for her rabbit and guinea pig to give them freedom from their cages during the day.

The guinea pig and rabbit have since died, but plenty of cats still make use of the animal palace.

“I do a lot of voluntary work with stray cats and almost all my cats have health issues,” she said. “It is imperative they get fresh air. I feel like I’m being targeted. I’m a victim of a hate campaign.”

Hackney Council had not responded to requests for comment as the Gazette went to press.

Related articles

Latest Hackney Stories

Premier League: Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Yesterday, 20:48

Police have appealed for anyone who attended an 18th birthday party in Wilderton Road last night to get in touch, after a man was stabbed to death there after a fight broke out.

Yesterday, 17:08

National League: Harrogate Town 0 Leyton Orient 3

Yesterday, 16:16

Brandon Peel put up a double-double (23 points, 16 rebounds) as the London Lions got their British Basketball League season underway in style.

Yesterday, 14:00

We talk to hundreds of local business owners every day; we hear their concerns, understand their challenges and share in their successes.

Yesterday, 12:59

Emile Smith-Rowe has been speaking exclusively to the Islington Gazette newspaper after he made his Arsenal debut at the Emirates against Vorskla Poltava in the Europa League on Thursday. Read on for what he told Layth Yousif.

Yesterday, 09:00

Justin Edinburgh has plenty of options to pick from ahead of this weekend’s big fixture

Yesterday, 08:30

The slight chill is bringing the spiders indoors, writes Will McCallum, Newington Green.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now


Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Show Job Lists