A DOG exercising field has been given the go-ahead in Clifford Chambers despite residents calling foul on the application.
Members of Stratford District Council’s Planning Committee voted to give retrospective permission to a change of use from agricultural land to a dedicated dog walking area, where owners need to book slots, at a meeting on Wednesday February 22.
Planning officers recommended the committee grant the application with certain conditions but there was a difference of opinion among villagers.
The parish council was staunchly opposed to it, while 28 letters of support were filed to SDC in its favour.
Speaking at the planning meeting, parish councillor, Coun Leslie Moseley said that the parish council had received numerous complaints from residents on a number of grounds including noise levels – from both dogs and humans – escaped dogs trespassing into residents’ gardens and near accidents due to vehicles navigating a narrow access road up to the dog field.
He explained that only one vehicle at a time was able to drive along the road and this often led to any vehicle coming the other way having to reverse back onto the main road.
Also speaking at the meeting, Martin Reason – speaking on behalf of some residents – said that a commercial business had been inserted into their daily lives.
He explained that residents, including his elderly parents who live adjacent to the dog field, were at risk of encountering a dog or vehicle every time they left their homes.
Mr Reason continued: “We are not asking for the council to reject the application because we are anti-dog, we are not anti-healthy exercise, we are not anti-commercial development. We are asking you to reject the application because It is in an inappropriate residential location where the residents cannot be protected from potential harm and the access route is unsafe.”
But there has been plenty of support for the dog exercising field. A total of 28 letters were received by SDC noting it is “an invaluable and unique community asset”. Others said the booking system was effective and easy to use and they rarely encountered those with the next booking.
Supporters stated parking was not an issue and adequate parking was provided within the field.
It was also commented that the field was in regular use by charities for dog training and exercise and there were animal welfare benefits derived from having a safe space for dogs to run – especially those that were reactive to other dogs.
Members of the planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the application.
Councillors said they were voting in support of local business and while they did appreciate concerns from the local community, they felt they would not be realised as much as villagers feared due to the amount of work which had gone into preventing any issues.