The UK’s first bespoke hotel for house rabbits and guinea pigs could still go ahead despite a planning application being refused by Melton Council.
Stuart and Lisa Newton want to expand their existing animal boarding business, the Hop Inn at Stonesby, by relocating it to a larger plot of land off Eastwell Road at Waltham.
They submitted proposals to build a residential property which would also house the rabbits with outdoor runs for grazing.
The Newtons also planned to welcome trainee vets from Nottingham University and students from Brooksby Melton College to use the new facility as an animal husbandry centre.
But members of the planning committee blocked the plans on the grounds that the new property would be in an unsustainable location with limited nearby amenities.
They felt the design of the house would also have an adverse impact on the open countryside surrounding the site.
Mrs Newton said the couple were disappointed with the planning refusal but they were encouraged by some positive comments made by councillors at their meeting.
She said: “We are already planning the re-submission of our planning application for the first bespoke rabbit and guinea pig holiday retreat in the UK.
“It is something we feel very passionate about.
“I think it’s important to know that 70 per cent of the rabbits I care for are house rabbits and are treated no differently to a well-loved cat or dog, even a child in many cases.
“This is a growing market due to lifestyle change and we would like to be the leader in it.”
Mrs Newton said the existing location at Stonesby was not big enough to cope with increasing demand and for their plans to provide an animal husbandry resource.