Secure dog exercise area approved by Darlington Borough Council
Variety is the spice of life, or so the saying goes. While housing and housing related projects may be the bread and butter of a planning consultant’s working life, it’s always nice to deal with other subjects. Yes, we handle quite a few anaerobic digestion, equestrian and agricultural projects but when something entirely different comes along it makes for a pleasant change. And so it came to pass ….
Earlier this year our Director, Rod Hepplewhite, was approached by a new client who was interested in establishing a secure dog exercise area on a field just outside one of Darlington’s villages. Through her work with the Dog’s Trust she had become aware of a latent demand and need for a secure place where dog owners whose pets had special needs (such as being anxious when near other dogs or people or running off when let off the leash and not returning) could be exercised in a safe and secure environment. The nearest such exercise area to Darlington is in Thirsk, which has proved to very popular such that booking a time-slot isn’t always easy.
It was clear that the demand/need for the facility was there but the question was how would the local planning authority view such an unusual proposal. Rod advised the client that given the proposed location and the unusual nature of the proposal the submission of a pre-application inquiry to the Council would be a good idea. This proved to be the case as we were able to engage in positive discussions with the case officer, including a very useful site visit, at an early stage. We addressed issues raised, including providing a new entrance to the field from the country road, and answered all questions and were given a good steer on the preparation of the planning application. The same planning officer dealt with the planning application such that it proceeded to approval in a smooth manner, helped along by us providing an in-depth explanation of the background to the proposed dog exercise area, what it would entail and how it would be operated.
A combination of tactics and being open and honest helped win the day. The planning application submission included information above and beyond planning requirements but going that extra mile secured the planning permission for our client that she sought. That is what Prism Planning is all about, going that extra mile for our clients.