Hedgehog hospital closure notice
Liz Coates A hedgehog hospital “matron” has been ordered to tear down her back garden wards and find new homes for more than 80 patients in a council ultimatum aimed at shutting the sanctuary.
A hedgehog hospital “matron” has been ordered to tear down her back garden wards and find new homes for more than 80 patients in a council ultimatum aimed at shutting the sanctuary.
The enforcement notice ordering Lynn Satchell to stop taking in prickly patients comes into force today and means she has to clear the site by May next year.
Mrs Satchell, of Potter's Drive, Hopton, said the blow came just as the council had helped her to find new premises for a larger hospital and planned education centre after an earlier attempt to relocate to Myhills Garden Centre at Fritton fell through.
But even if she did get up and running at the new site by May, without permission to take in hedgehogs at home the whole enterprise could flounder, she said.
“They say I have changed the usage of my house by having a hedgehog rescue centre. I have been here since June 2006 and they have known about me.
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“All of a sudden this comes out of the blue because one person complained. I have six months to shut down at the house but I need to have something here because I am the only centre for miles around and if I am shut at the site I need somewhere to bring them in the middle of the night.
“They are saying I cannot have anything at the house. It is too heavy handed and too harsh.”
Currently around 80 juveniles are over-wintering in Mrs Satchell's specially adapted garden shed. Some of the patients are disabled and need to be re-homed in safe-haven gardens.
Mrs Satchell said she was worried for the future of injured and sick hedgehogs needing care if she had to close. She had hoped to set up one of the largest hospitals in the country under the name Spikes Wildlife Aid Trust and was heartened by the support of well wishers.
She said more than 100 people had already signed a petition to keep Spikes open and that she had many people championing her corner, including near neighbours.
After caring for a single sick hedgehog a few years ago Mrs Satchell was hooked on the creatures. Word of her endeavours soon spread and now she covers a massive area from Bury St Edmunds to North Walsham, taking in the overspill from other overcrowded wards.
Her hospital hit the headlines in September last year when she nursed a pair of rare albino twins but the road to larger premises where she can better care for the hedgehogs has been difficult.
No-one from the council was available to comment at the time of going to press.