Photographer vows to fight animal sanctuary decision

Paul Borg Grech's animal sanctuary was refused permission by Falkirk Council planners.
Paul Borg Grech's animal sanctuary was refused permission by Falkirk Council planners.
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A photographer has hit out at planners for their lack of vision.

Paul Borg Grech intends to appeal against Falkirk Council planning committee’s decision to refuse his application to develop an animal sanctuary on land to the west of An Cala, California Road, Maddiston.

The committee stated the proposals were “detrimental to the environment”, contrary to the Falkirk Local Plan and would inhibit the site’s use as an established wildlife corridor.

Mr Borg Grech, a Falkirk-based professional photographer, said: “We intend to appeal to the Scottish Government as soon as we receive the official letter of rejection from Falkirk Council.

“We have put a lot of our own money and a lot of time and effort into developing this and now we are stopped from carrying out further development.

“The appeal process will take months so we will lose another growing season. We are stuck in limbo.”

The sanctuary, which is run by Mr Borg Grech, his wife Fiona and their family, is currently home to pigs, chickens and rare Golden Guernsey goats.

“There are only 1000 of these goats left in the world,” said Mr Borg Grech. “We are currently looking for a male Golden Guernsey so we can try to increase the numbers.”

Mr Borg Grech said the council’s decision has been a major setback to his overall plans for the site - a former dumping ground - which he hoped would become a haven for all kinds of animals and go on to become a nature attraction people would come and visit.

He added: “Despite what was said at the planning meeting, I have had no concerns raised from Scottish Natural Heritage regarding our woodland management, but I would be glad to talk to them.

“We have done everything we can to make sure this is a benefit to the environment and the community.

“The comments from the councillors were very negative, but we have only had positive comments from other people who have seen the site.”