A cat-loving couple face having to tear down their pets’ new playground after building it without planning permission.
Lorraine and Adrian Marshall are the proud owners of 10 cats whom they see as their ‘babies’ since their three children grew up.
They created a £1,500 ‘catio’ in their Blackpool front garden after three of their cats were killed from being run over.
The 8ft structure, made from wood and chicken wire, was inspired by Jungle Jim’s play area at Blackpool Tower.
The couple enlisted the expertise of a landscape gardener from the city’s Furry Tails animal hospital and finished it in June.
But it soon attracted complaints from neighbours and Lorraine, 42, claims a planning enforcement officer from Blackpool Council told her it had to be knocked down.
She said: ‘I was heartbroken. How can I tell the cats that they can’t use it? It’s soul-destroying.
‘The cars fly down here, and it’s a really busy street. I can’t let them out on the road.
‘I’d have to keep them in and that, to me, is cruel after we’ve let them out in this space. It’s not healthy for them. They need fresh air.’
Adrian, 60, said he feels mistreated having served the Blackpool community for more than three decades by running two Post Offices.
He said: ‘The cats love it. Come 6 or 7pm when the outdoor lights come on and the flies are buzzing around, the cats are all over it. People stop and take pictures.
‘Our lives are our cats. We’re happy in our own little world we have with our cats, and we don’t bother anybody.
‘Now some person from the council who hasn’t got a clue comes around and says I’m not allowed to build something in my own garden – I really find it disgusting.’
A council spokesperson said: ‘We have visited and spoken to the Mr and Mrs Marshall. We advised that the structure built in the front garden does require planning permission and this can be applied for retrospectively.
‘We have also said that we would be happy to meet the owners again at the property to see if there is a suitable alternative.’
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