A councillor has declared himself "absolutely shocked" after a council error led to animal licences being issued at different costs – depending on whether or not people complained about them.

The council "boo-boo"was highlighted at Powys Council's planning, taxi licensing and rights of way committee on Thursday, at which senior enforcement officer Gavin Jones told members of procedural errors in how the new licensing fees had been introduced late last year.

Higher fees were agreed in January 2020, but objections to the planned rises in a public consultation were not brought back before the planning committee, and they were carried through anyway on the decision of a professional lead who has since left the council.

However, on legal advice, licensees that objected to the increases were refunded and put back to the pre January 2020 fees – but those who didn't object had the new increases “imposed anyway”.

Cllr Jon Williams, (Llandrindod East/West – Action for Powys) said: “At the time we agreed this, nobody realised the effect Covid would have on everybody’s lives especially businesses.

“To implement these increases even from now, would be going against what I consider to be fair.”

Cllr Williams added: “I’m absolutely shocked.”

Planning committee solicitor, Colin Edwards, said: “What should have happened is that the objections should have come back to committee to consider what to do with those categories

“The recommended licence fees in the categories without objections would have stood anyway.”

Cllr Les George (Caersws – Conservative) added: “There has been some major slip up in procedure, it isn’t the fault of the people with the animals or the committee, but Powys County Council.”

Mr Edwards believed before making a decision the committee should have more information.

He advised deferring the decision to a later date to allow time for a new report with the financial implication of the changes to be considered.

Cllr Williams continued: “There has been a mistake by the authority, there’s no finger pointing but we have stand up and say, we’ve made a financial boo-boo.

“These people should not suffer because of our boo-boo.”

The issue is supposed come back to the next planning meeting on May 20.

The proposed licence fees for 2021/22 are:

  • Home Boarder – £268
  • Commercial Kennels/Cattery – £303
  • Dog Breeder – category one –  £315

Fees for 2019/20

  • Home Boarder – £106
  • Commercial kennels/cattery (one to 10 cats/dogs) – £211
  • Commercial kennels/cattery (11-30 cats/dogs) – £221
  • Commercial kennels/cattery (over 31 cats/dogs) – £230
  • Dog Breeder – category one – £211.