Planning Crisis: Our Greenwich Hub is at risk

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#Save Catcuddles SE2

The faces that you see here represent only a fraction of the cats that The CatCuddles Sanctuary has helped over the years. Cats who have been neglected, unwanted, abandoned, and cats who have been cherished and loved until circumstances parted them from their owners.

For over 7 years, our dedicated Volunteer Team have fought tooth and nail to save every kind of cat, with every kind of story.

In recent months, we have been facing a crisis beyond our control that has the potential to drastically reduce the number of cats that we can help, for an indefinite period of time, particularly in the borough of Greenwich.

Evina Koroni, the founder of the CatCuddles Sanctuary, has been fostering abandoned, unwanted and stray cats at her home for 9 years. Though CatCuddles was founded in 2009, prior to its conception Evina fostered for charities such as Cats Protection Greenwich, Celia Hammond and Cats Protection Bexley.

Last year, Evina was directed to gain retrospective planning permission for this fostering from Greenwich Council. There was every indication that this was a mere formality, as Evina had been peacefully fostering for such a long period already, often to the benefit of her local community.

However, to the shock and dismay of both Evina and the CatCuddles team, this application was declined on February 1st 2017. There are a huge number of issues with the reasons cited for this refusal, however for legal reasons we are unable to go into detail at this point.

As the charity’s founder, Evina is the most important in a network of volunteer foster carers across London. Whilst other volunteer fosterers care for just one or two cats at their homes, Evina fosters a small number, with volunteers visiting daily between the hours of 10am and 2pm to help feed, clean and socialize them. You can view photos of Evina’s home in the slideshow above, taken with her consent by volunteers only days before the council’s decision was made

Still, fostering this small number of cats has a big impact, as most are adopted from Howarth Rd very rapidly. This quick adoption turnover means that through Evina’s fostering alone the charity helps literally hundreds of cats, taking many from the most unfortunate of circumstances and placing all in loving forever homes.

Through Evina’s fostering, the charity also helps local vets who’ve had cats dumped on their premises, neuters hundreds of stray cats in the area to help to keep their explosive numbers down, provides free advice to local cat owners on responsible ownership, helping many to arrange neutering for their own pets, and of course pairs hundreds of formerly unwanted cats with loving adoptive families. 

If Evina is forced to cease fostering however, this will all stop. The total number of cats that CatCuddles can help will be hugely diminished for an unknown period of time as the charity readjusts, and the charity’s presence in Greenwich may be reduced permanently; though we have an up-and-coming cat rehoming centre and vet clinic in Palmers Green, this centre will focus primarily on North London.

And so with the CatCuddles volunteer team behind her, Evina will be appealing the council’s decision, a process that will cost upwards of £2500, a huge amount for a charity that receives no official funding aside from donations. On Evina's suggestion, the charity trustees have made the conscious decision not to utilise funds donated by the public for the cats to cover professional fees for the planning process and appeal. For this reason we are fundraising and would be happy to open a communication line with all donors willing to help us cover the planning bill, and we welcome all donations from the public. Even the smallest amount will take us a step closer to our daunting goal. 

UPDATE - We have now far surpassed our fundraising goal and have sufficient funds for pursuing an appeal. Thank you to everyone who donated!

How you can help

Please sign and share our petition:

Tweet your support

You can tweet your support for us using the hashtag #SaveCatCuddlesSE2.

Contact people on our behalf

Write to the local councillors, MP and/or Greenwich council to let them know you support Catcuddles.

Contact details are on this page below. You may find the following factsheet helpful when contacting:

Register your support for Catcuddles

If you feel that Catcuddles good work at Howarth Road should not be prevented in this way, please make your support known to the people below, either in writing, via social media, or in person (Surgery times for councillors are listed below). The more feedback they receive, the more likely they will be to be to support our fight to continue. 

One of our volunteers has created a pdf factsheet outlining the basic facts which you may find helpful to use when contacting people on our behalf.

Local Councillors

Denise Hyland, Councillor for Abbeywood
Emaildenise.hyland@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Write to: Denise Hyland, Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich, London, SE18 6PW
Phone: 020 8921 5659
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/CllrDHyland
Surgery times: 10-11am 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, William Temple Church, Eynsham Drive, SE2

Clive Mardner, Councillor for Abbeywood
Emailclive.mardner@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Write to: Clive Mardener, Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich, London, SE18 6PW
Phone: 020 8311 4921
Surgery times: 7-8pm 2nd and 3rd Friday of the month, Abbey Wood Community Centre, 4 Knee Hill, SE2

Steve Offord, Councillor for Abbeywood
Emailsteve.offord@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Write To: Steve Offord, Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich, London, SE18 6PW
Phone: 020 8921 6393
Mobile: 07507 859186
Surgery times: 10-11am, 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month - William Temple Church, Eynsham Drive, SE2

Member of Parliament

Teresa Pearce MP, Erith & Thamesmead
Emailteresa.pearce.mp@parliament.uk
Write To: Teresa Pearce MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA
Tel: 020 7219 6936
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/tpearce003 

Local Council / Planning

Greenwich Council
Emailplanningapps@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/Royal_Greenwich
Tel: 020 8854 8888

AppealMiko Coffey