An outdoor exercise park for dogs has been allowed to open on a trial basis in west Leeds, despite concerns over noise from barking.
The pet recreation facility, in Calverley, will be allowed to run for an initial 12 months, after temporary planning permission was granted on Thursday.
The plans had drawn anger from some neighbours living on Clara Drive in the area, with the site on a disused patch of land by Carr Farm Cottages to the south. They claimed they’d be disturbed by barking for much of the day, with the facility set to be open between 8am and 8pm from Monday to Saturday and 9am to 6pm on Sundays.
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A noise assessment funded by the objectors supported that view. But the applicant behind the facility, Nikki Goodall, disputed those findings.
Speaking at a plans panel meeting where the matter was heard on Thursday, she said: “The report is based entirely on speculation and guesswork. As the dog park doesn’t exist yet, reporting on how many dogs will bark, how loudly and for how long is just ridiculous.”
Ms Goodall has promised to put up acoustic fencing around where the dogs will be and no more than eight pets will be allowed on site at any one time. She said she’d wanted to work with neighbours, but that this had been “undermined” when she received “intimidating letters from solicitors, personal confrontation and a barrage of objections”.
She added: “This whole experience has left me feeling bullied, intimidated and really quite unwell.”
In response, an objector told the committee: “This proposal is not supported by local community. The applicant is running a commercial business which can occupy an alternative space, which does not breach planning law or fall foul of environmental health regulations.
Adding that opposition to the scheme was “not personal”, he added: “This has caused a lot of stress to me and my family.
“We’re both NHS workers. Our neighbour is an NHS worker and post-pandemic when we’ve felt under the cosh, all we want to do is come home and enjoy the quiet residential space we feel we’re entitled to.”
Although planning officers suggested the application be refused, councillors voted to approve temporary permission, on the condition that noise levels be measured frequently by the council’s environmental health team.