Romney House Cat Rescue has operated as a rescue centre since 1998, working with a number of animal welfare groups such as Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Cats Protection League and the RSPCA.
Since 2006 planning officials from Bromley Council visited the centre on a number of occasions after complaints the site had intensified its use, but after photographic evidence was compared and inspections carried out, the owners were told they did not require planning permission or material change of use. They were advised - and were preparing - to apply for a certificate of lawfulness to stop further problems.
A newspaper article in support of the centre mistakenly wrote that the centre has 150 cats in residency, instead of homing approximately 150 a year. The article was brought to the council's attention and Romney House was told they were no longer entitled to apply for the certificate of lawfulness and planning consent would need to be applied for. The paper wrote in support that the information they printed was incorrect and Romney House sent two invitations to planning officials to visit the centre. The next correspondence from the council was an enforcement of closure notice for early that approaching december! (2 months notice to re-home over 30 cats)
The centre is self-funded and non-profit-making. It was in no financial position to enter into a legal battle with the Council through legal representation due to its financial circumstances. It has rescued, saved and nursed back to health many hundreds if not thousands of cats since 1998 and thousands of future cats would suffer should the centre have been closed. An appeal was launched to raise the support & funds for legal action and in july 2011, the unjustified notices were withdrawn and quashed!