Petition hits 5,000 after Ark threatened by noise complaints

Sue Rice (third left) with her team at The Ark in recent years.
Sue Rice (third left) with her team at The Ark in recent years.

The head of the Ark Animal Rescue and Retirement Home has said she feels victimised after a noise abatement notice was served against the charity - despite looking after thousands of animals for over 30 years without any issues.

The charity’s boss, Sue Rice, said that East Lindsey District Council had been led to take action following a flurry of complaints from a nearby household, despite these residents having only moved into the area around three years ago.

While Sue accepts there is noise from the site due to dogs barking, she told the Leader that there had never been any complaints until the last couple of years - adding that she had ‘bent over backwards’ to limit the noise levels as much as possible. She added that most local people accept there will be some degree of noise from The Ark due to the animals being housed there, in addition to high levels of noise from the nearby bombing range and the road traffic each winter due to tourists visiting the Donna Nook seals.

Sue said: “I’m trying my hardest.

“If I had thousands of pounds to spare, I would soundproof the building.

“I feel there is a personal vendetta and I feel threatened by the situation, despite bending over backwards.

“I’m not denying there’s barking - there always has been, and always will be.

“I want to be able to continue to offer The Ark as a place of safety to animals, including dogs, in the future.”

Sue added that ELDC had been ‘very supportive’ about her situation, but had no choice but to act after the complaints were made.

She also thanked the thousands of people who have already signed an online petition calling for the noise abatement notice to be lifted.

The petition - which can be found at www.thepetitionsite.com - had attracted over 5,000 signatures by this morning (Wednesday).

The noise abatement notice will be in place for five months, and Sue could personally be hit with an unlimited fine if the noise levels are not reduced - which Sue has described as a ‘worrying and unnecessary’ burden on her mind.

She said: “I understand all sides, and I don’t like confrontation, but these residents chose to move here.

“The dog side of The Ark is our main income because of admission and adoption fees, so if we have to stop that then every other animal will unfortunately be at risk.

“I’ve been in tears over this. My mum opened The Ark all those years ago, and she’s sadly no longer here.”

ELDC’s Deputy Environmental Health Manager, David Dodds, explained that the Council was required by law to investigate and act.

Mr Dodds said: “The Council received a complaint about noise at the premises earlier in the year, and following a thorough investigation, which included noise monitoring, we reached the point where a statutory noise nuisance was identified.

“We are required by law to serve notice where we find this. This means that the noise is considered to be having a significant impact on those living nearby.

“The Council has not taken the decision to serve this abatement notice lightly, and it does follow a number of months of detailed investigation and subsequent discussion with the owners of the Ark.

“We recognise that where animals are present at a premises like the Ark, there will always be a degree of noise, and the notice isn’t about eliminating the noise completely, as that simply isn’t possible, it’s about reducing it to a more acceptable level and achieving a balance between the operation of the premises and the nearby community.

“The abatement notice does provide a period of time in which to put measures in place that reduce the noise level to one that is more acceptable and we’re happy to support the owner with looking at ways to do this.”

Meanwhile, The Ark is hoping to raise over £2,000 to repair the existing flat roof above their kennels, which is leaking due to age.

Visit https://www.gofundme.com/rescue-kennel-roof-repair to find out more and make a donation to support the charity.

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