AN ANIMAL rescue centre in Flintshire has been operating without planning permission for 26 years, it has been revealed.

Capricorn Animal Rescue in Padeswood, which can house up to 200 animals at a time, is expected to finally receive the go-ahead to look after animals at a planning meeting tomorrow .

Owner Sheila Stewart said she did not realise the mistake until she started making plans for an extension.

She said: “When we come here 26 years ago the lady who run the place knew that we were animal rescue.

“She welcomed us and we have been here ever since. But when we wanted to rebuild and add more units we were told that, technically, speaking we didn’t have permission for what we had.”

Sheila has applied for retrospective planning permission to change the use of the building.

If plans are approved, there will be new outbuildings for the animals, better parking and improved access from Padeswood Lake Road.

Sheila said she was pleased her big plans for the centre were finally set to come to fruition.

She added: “I’ve had the plans in my head for 10 years and it’s only recently that we’ve had the money to do them.

“It is to improve the facilities not only for the animals but for the volunteers and the work experience people.”

The proposals have have been given short shrift by some neighbours who insisted new buildings would be out of character with the area.

Concerns have also been raised that a bigger centre would be noisier and would bring traffic congestion.

But while the proposal drew seven objections, County Hall planners received 265 letters of support. The officers have recommended conditional permission be granted.