THE owners of a luxury dog hotel popular with celebrities may have to sell their home of more than 50 years if the council refuse their planning application.
Elmwood Exclusive Hotel for Dogs, in Swan Bottom, The Lee, is run by John Burton, 74, his wife Jenny, 71, and son Mark, 33.
After 35 years the business is set to close its doors after Mr Burton was diagnosed with cancer, Mrs Burton has health problems and their son Mark has become the couple’s full-time carer.
The family has just finished building a new hotel for the dogs, built and designed by Mark, after they were told by Chiltern District Council the former building did not meet new health and safety requirements because the ceilings were not high enough.
Because the family have to close the business they no longer need the new hotel, complete with a kitchen and bathroom, and so they applied to change the use from commercial to residential so they could rent it out, providing them with an income to continue living in the home they have been in since 1961.
But the planning application has been recommended refusal by planning officers.
Mr Burton said: “We would be so sad to move and we don’t need this stress on top of being ill. It’s not nice being treated like this. I feel sorry for my son because this was his future. I don’t know what we would do without him, he does everything at the moment but he just can’t carry on. It’s terrible to lose this business, it was our life. I’d have carried on if it wasn’t for my health.”
The family business was the first exclusive hotel for dogs in the country and has looked after a host of celebrities’ dogs. Star customers include Shane Richie, Robert Powell and Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson.
A decision is expected to be made next Thursday.