A NOVEL farm diversification scheme could see the development of the first centre in the region offering holidays and residential training breaks for families with dogs.

Harry and Alison Gray have applied to Hambleton District Council to transform seven acres of grazing land in open countryside at East Cowton, near Northallerton, into an eco-friendly self-catering tourism destination, based around a dog training and exercise facility.

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Documents lodged with the authority state Leaps and Bounds will be a unique offering in the region, allowing guests to stay in one of 12 glamping pods while also dealing with dog behaviour issues such as pulling on the lead, barking at other dogs and coming back when called.

The proposal, which would create up to eight full-time jobs, follows farmers submitting dozens of farm diversification schemes to North Yorkshire planning authorities in the last year, either to develop glamping sites or create dog training and exercise facilities.

Papers lodged with the plan highlight the findings of a recent PDSA Paw Report which found 27 per cent of dogs owned before March “are showing behaviours that could be related to a lack of socialisation”.

The PDSA report concludes that “human behaviour change methods are key to improving the welfare of our pets”, and that “a relatively high number of inexperienced owners may now be struggling with the realities of owning a pet for the first time”.

The application states the development has been designed "to offer complete privacy and allow for a calm, relaxing experience for both owner and dog".

It adds: "The additional CCTV coverage on the site will offer a sense of personal security for those fearful or not wishing to exercise their dogs in public alone."

The application papers state as the proposed facilities would offer "proper, secure compounds for each dog/family", the development has the potential to be a trail blazer for the sector in Hambleton and North Yorkshire.

They add the the development could attract £225,000 per annum of additional tourism income to the area, while day training is expected to contribute another £75,000.

The application states the dog training facility would be carefully managed to minimise impacts on neighbours.

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It concludes: "Like any destination, Hambleton must maintain and build on its competitive advantages, and a development like that proposed at Dalton Gates will not only expand the district’s offering, but will also attract a relatively new niche market and will help protect its position in offering a genuinely wide range of quality, modern accommodation to its visitors."

The proposal has already attracted support from dog owners who have struggled to find suitable accommodation in the area.

In a letter to the council, one supporter stated: "I have both family and friends in the area that I would love to visit, the only restriction is I have two rescue dogs.

"For me this is the ultimate solution. A dog-friendly stay and somewhere secure I can take my dogs to walk.

"In a world where dogsitters and kennels are few and far between, this is an absolute godsend."


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