New home is Bishop's Stortford animal charity's Christmas wish
ARC, Bishop's Stortford's haven for abandoned animals, is looking forward to a new home of its own this Christmas.
After 18 months, a project to relocate the Animal Rescue Charity from its dilapidated base at Foxdells to a purpose-built sanctuary off Farnham Road is running around three months behind schedule.
Jan Rose set up the organisation with daughter Fiona Piggott in 1990 "to provide a safe haven for neglected, unwanted and abandoned animals and wherever possible to treat and rehabilitate all animals including wildlife".
She said: "We hope we will be in before Christmas."
The good cause must leave its current site, now owned by Bovis Homes and Taylor Wimpey, to make way for the 2,200-home Stortford Fields estate.
It is set to be converted for "community purposes or for a commercial use such as a restaurant with additional community space".
As part of approval for the estate, the developers have given ARC £250,000 towards its £1m building project after a long wait and protracted wrangling.
A relieved Jan said: "We have now disassociated ourselves from the developers. They have made our lives a misery. Now we can do things our way and have the animals housed the way we want them. It's going to be a completely different ball game."
The Farnham Road site was secured thanks to a bequest from former Manston Drive resident Joshua Mahadevan, one of many generous benefactors who support the sanctuary.
Around six years ago he gifted the charity nine acres which were formerly part of the town's lime works off Farnham Road.
An abandoned caretaker's cottage is the office and administration centre for the charity's staff and its army of around 50 volunteers.
At any one time, ARC cares for around 20 dogs and as many as 140 cats. To care for the animals, ARC relies on supporters. Jan said that while they have enough regular dog walkers, they are desperate for more animal lovers ready to turn up between 9am and noon to clean and care for the shelter's feline and canine charges.
Each year the charity needs around £120,000 to operate. This year's total has just been boosted by £978 from the Bishop's Stortford Dog Training Club.
Jan said: "They are sadly disbanding after approximately 30 years of serving the town. They have very kindly decided to donate what remains in their kitty to our charity."