Senedd Member hits out at plans to expand the only greyhound racing stadium in Wales
Rhiannon James, local democracy reporter
A Plaid Cymru Senedd Member has hit out at plans to expand the only greyhound racing stadium in Wales.
Valley Greyhounds, which is based in Ystrad Mynach, has submitted plans to expand its facilities as part of its aim to obtain a professional racing licence.
The proposals for the stadium include an additional bar area, a function room, a new judge’s box and a vet surgery.
Speaking in the Senedd, Delyth Jewell MS said she had “lost track” of the amount of emails she had received about the expansion.
Asking a question to Rural Affairs minister Lesley Griffiths, Ms Jewell, who represents the South East Wales region, said: “You said, Minister, after your appointment, that you would prioritise this issue early in the Senedd term.
“What action are you taking to persuade the council about the need to uphold Welsh Government commitments to animal welfare as part of the planning process, and can you confirm that, if you’re not satisfied that the welfare of dogs is being prioritised, you will be willing to take direct action to protect them?”
In response, Ms Griffiths said she could not interfere with the planning application – since it is a matter for the council – but, she would urge the council to continue with unannounced inspections.
Eight unannounced inspections took place between February 2020 and August 2022.
Following the minister’s comments, Ms Jewell said: “The strength of public feeling on this issue is crystal clear, with tens of thousands of people having signed petitions in favour of a ban, so I would urge the Welsh Government to delay no longer and begin to draft this legislation immediately.”
Dog rescue charities Hope Rescue and Greyhound Rescue Wales have also spoken out against the expansion.
They have started a petition against the development as “an urgent plea to the public to take action and protect hundreds of greyhounds from needless, preventable injuries and death”.
According to Valley Greyhounds’ website, work on the stadium has already begun – this is despite the fact planning permission is yet to be granted.
Valley Greyhounds hopes to become licenced by the Greyhound Board of Great Britain (GBGB) by January 2024.
The dog rescue charities have concerns that this will “intensify” the greyhound racing taking place in Ystrad Mynach.
A different petition by Hope Rescue calling for greyhound racing to be banned in Wales got more than 35,000 signatures and is expected to be debated in the Senedd.
A decision on the planning application is expected to be delegated to council planning officers and made by November 16.
Valley Greyhounds has been contacted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
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