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DARLINGTON DOGS: From farmland to dog exercise park

DARLINGTON DOGS: From farmland to dog exercise park

A PROPOSAL to transform farmland into an area in which dogs can safely exercise has been welcomed, with councillors reporting a high demand for such facilities.

Darlington Borough Council’s planning committee approved Fiona Lennox’s plan to welcome dog owners and their pets to a field off Roundhill Road, Hurworth after hearing the venture was unlikely to have an unacceptable impact on neighbours and the site would be managed.

The meeting heard the park would feature some temporary obstacles for the dogs, such as hoops to jump through and dog slalom poles, as well as toys such as ball throwers and frisbees.

The applicant stated the aim of the dog park was to enable owners to let their dogs off leads and “have a good run around in a safe environment”, while not having issues with other dogs or people as it could be booked for exclusive use.

She said the park would also be suitable for dog training, practising agility and socialising dogs in a fun environment.

Councillors heard the park, which is among a number of similar applications that have been lodged with planning authorities in the North Yorkshire and Tees Valley area recently, would be particularly beneficial for dogs that are not good at recall when off the lead.

However, the meeting was told while the site was close to a complex of converted barns, noise from barking dogs using the facility would be controlled.

The meeting heard Ms Lennox had stated customers of dogs that excessively and continually barked whilst around other dogs would have to book the park for a sole use session and dogs that continued to bark would be asked to leave.

Officers said it would not be feasible for the council to control that management plan, but measures such as restricting use of the site from 8am to 6pm would help protect neighbours from noise nuisance.

Hurworth councillor Lorraine Tostevin said residents were looking for places to exercise their dogs, so the park would become extremely popular.

She raised concerns over the number of people attending the site, saying 12 people attending the site every hour could create issues in the area such as queuing traffic to enter the site.

North Road councillor Hilary Allen said: “This is the kind of facility than I would pay to take my guide dog puppies for their initial training. There is nowhere locally where I live that I would consider safe.”

Councillor Eddie Heslop said residents in his ward had contacted him asking if the council had fields it could use as a dog exercise park.

He said: “There is a lot of dog owners who would really value this resource.”

The scheme was approved on condition the number of people visiting the site be restricted to no more than three appointments at any one time with no more than three dogs per client at the same time.

Words: Stuart Minting, Local Democracy Reporter

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