Vet claims new Hampstead dog spa ‘will blow dangerous pooch hair onto high street’

Traders and residents demonstrate against the Dog Parlour coming to South End Green. Picture: Nigel

Traders and residents demonstrate against the Dog Parlour coming to South End Green. Picture: Nigel Sutton - Credit: Nigel Sutton

A veterinary surgeon has joined arms with residents furious over plans to open Hampstead’s next dog spa – saying it could threaten the lives of asthmatics and lead to the high street being blasted with dog hair and skin.

Chain pet store Barkers has revealed it is looking to unveil its next dog salon in South End Road, providing pooches with “five star” pampering including fresh breath treatments, aromatherapy mud baths and “pawdicures”.

Barkers – owned by national UK firm Pets at Home – submitted plans to Camden Council to change the existing shop front last month. It would see the installation of six ventilation shafts pumping air from the dog salon onto the pavement below.

The site had originally been earmarked to form part of a Sainsbury’s store until the supermarket chain was confronted with an opposition campaign and it backed down.

And this week another campaign has been launched to throw out the pet spa proposals.

Among those objecting to the council is Dr Rodney Zasman, a head veterinary surgeon at four clinics across north London, including one in South End Road.

He said: “I don’t see why visitors walking past a groomers should be blasted with dog hair and dander [skin flakes] from air vents while doing their shopping or why the residents [above the shop] should have to put up with the noise and hair. This can be fatal to asthmatics as dander is one of the triggers for asthma. It is also, frankly, quiet unhygienic.

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“These type of vents are suitable for human medical facilities but not for grooming.”

The South End Green Association (SEGA) has also written to the council urging it to throw out the proposals, saying: “It is unacceptable that noxious waste should be extracted on to the pavement immediately below residents’ windows and in the breathing space of passers-by and café customers.”

Susan Brandt, who lives above the proposed site, added: “Two of the residents in our block have respiratory problems. One almost died last year. This is a life-threatening issue for us.”

A spokesperson for Barkers said: “We have made every effort to engage with our neighbours in Hampstead to address their concerns. We do not expect the noise level to be any greater than that from the existing vet surgery and hairdresser just a few doors away.

“In addition, the ventilation system has been designed to a very high specification, with multiple filters including a final element usually found in hospital operating theatres. With Hampstead being a favourite dog-walking location, we are confident that Barkers of Hampstead will prove to be a popular addition.”