Agglo de Pau: why the animal shelter is still not built

For the record, the City had obtained a first building permit on May 27…

For the record, the City had obtained a first building permit on May 27, 2020. It planned to create a Chemin de Brousse refuge capable of accommodating 74 dogs and around thirty cats. The set of buildings (185 m²) was to be established on the old site closed in 2015 for unsanitary conditions and razed in 2017. Located in Morlaàs, the land belongs to Pau. The operation, valued at 2.5 million euros, then seemed well underway after a long soap opera. It was without counting on the opposition of the neighbors, denouncing nuisances and incompatibility of the project with the nature of the places.

the plans of the refuge presented in the amending permit


A noise barrier

The municipality then reviewed its copy as part of an amending permit granted on June 29, 2021 by the town hall of Morlaàs and instructed by the community of municipalities of North-East Béarn (CNEB). The community raised a noise barrier and notably added merlons with a height of between 2.8 m and 3 m. Arrangements allowing “to comply with regulatory noise requirements”, according to the results of an acoustic impact study, based on a kennel of the same size. Following, Pau transferred the management of the file to the Agglo.

Not enough to reassure the neighbors who formed the Association of Residents Against the Establishment of Kennels (ARCIC) in 2019. “In the other departments, the kennels are built on the edge of the woods, in the middle of the countryside. Here we are in a craft area with a lot of traffic: where is the welfare of the dogs on the walks? This project is no longer valid in such a context”, summarizes a local resident living next to the site. This retiree still remembers the deplorable management of the shelter in recent years.

“Strong Arguments”

These residents, accompanied by two companies in the area, then retaliated by successively attacking the deliberation of the CNEB acknowledging the modification of the PLUI (local inter-municipal urban plan), the decree of the Morlaàs building permit and finally the decree modification of the building permit. “We have strong arguments to make. The investigating commissioner had issued an unfavorable opinion at the end of the public inquiry, recalls Me Claude Garcia, lawyer for the applicants. In addition, the motorway interchange project located in the immediate vicinity has not been taken into account”.

“Delivery before summer 2023”

Since the start of the procedures, the wait has been stretching. “The file is in the hands of justice”, soberly indicates the resident. The court’s decision should “intervene in the course of the last quarter of 2022”, estimates the Agglo, which suspends the start of the construction site on the advice of the administrative court. However, the intercommunality wants to stay the course. “The community therefore aims to launch the works by the end of the year with delivery before the summer of 2023. Everything is therefore ready, in accordance with the commitments made by the mayor-president François Bayrou”, assures the intermunicipality.

The mayor of Morlaàs Joël Segot is more cautious about the outcome. “The environmental standards required and the various amendments to the permit should allow construction without major harm to local residents. However, I will beware of any hasty conclusions and will let the legal proceedings take their course, “says the city councilor who signed the building permits. The decision will tell if the file is really at bay.

The SPA still in the running for management

Despite the delays accumulated by the file, the Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA) has confirmed that it is still a candidate for the management of the future equipment. “The Covid episode got the better of the initial ambitions. It’s kind of our fault. We had emergencies during the health crisis with animals that could no longer be adopted. Without forgetting that this summer has been disastrous with a 150% increase in abandonments with regard to our capacities”, estimates Jacques-Charles Fombonne, national president of the structure. Although “no news from the town hall”, the SPA makes available to the community “its expertise and advice”. “The nuisances of this type of refuge are not negligible. We have a lot of difficulty establishing ourselves on new land because the constraints in terms of town planning law are very significant,” explains the president, who met François Bayrou three years ago. For the Gendarmerie Brigadier General, retired in 2018, if the difficulties relating to the permit persist, it will be necessary to “review the copy”. The SPA also seems ready to wait. “We want a building that lives up to our ambitions, that makes you want to come back and adopt, not in the pathos”, continues Jacques-Charles Fombonne. The association plans an annual operating budget of €500,000 comprising 5 employees including a veterinarian

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