A proposal to keep an unauthorised farm diversification scheme, which has been operating on farmland for more than four years without planning permission, has generated a mixed response.

While Sandra Holtby’s application to North Yorkshire Council for consent to maintain A Dog’s Tale Adventure on a sheep grazing field off Muff Lane, Newby, near Middlesbrough, has been backed by many of her customers, it has also attracted complaints about the behaviour of some of its users near housing.

Responding to a question in planning papers about whether she had received advice from planning officers ahead of launching the commercial venture on farmland, applicant Mrs Holtby said she had been told she did not need planning permission “for a fence, straw bales, fence posts or a drainage pipe in our field”.

The Northern Farmer: Unauthorised dog exercise facility proposal draws mixed response (file photo) Picture: Pixabay

Mrs Hotby added: “The field was to remain grass and could still be grazed.”

The venture’s website urges potential users to assess the suitability of their dog to use the area, warning of noise from houses, lawn mowers and children playing.

In its response to the plans, Newby Parish Council described A Dogs Tale Adventure as “a well-established business” about which the parish council had not received any complaints over since its launch in 2019.

In letters of support for the change of land use application, one customer described the venture as “a vital resource given the increase in dog attacks and out of control dogs in public spaces”, while another stated they were “very disappointed to learn that this facility may have to close”.

One customer wrote: “I must say as a dog owner for most of my life, this is the best thing that I have ever come across, total security for owners and their dogs, there should be many more like them, instead of people from normal families having to worry about other idiots who have no concerns for public safety.”

However, a resident has claimed A Dog’s Tale Adventure has been operated in a field beside her garden “without any consideration for local residents or neighbours”, surrounded by poorly maintained “eyesore” fencing and spoiling her views.

She said with the dog field having been open seven days a week for up to 12 hours a day, users “invaded her privacy” by looking into her home and garden and had been seen “urinating in the field or worse”, while dog excrement bags had been blown into her garden.

The resident wrote: “I can hear the dogs barking which is disturbing my peace. I do not have dogs, but must now put up with dogs barking from a commercial enterprise.

“There has been complaints from users of the dog field when we are cutting our lawn saying it is upsetting their dogs. This is a further example of why it is inappropriate to operate a commercial business not in keeping with the agricultural heritage of the village next to residential homes.”