Around 50 North Yorkshire villagers were left frustrated as councillors deferred making a decision on plans to turn an agricultural field into a dog park.

Skipton & Ripon’s planning committee met yesterday at Ripon Town Hall in the hope of considering plans by Ms L Furlong to create a secure place for up to 12 dogs to exercise off-lead south of Mickley, five miles from Ripon.

It is bordered by farmland currently occupied by grazing sheep and breeding ewes, which led a council officer to recommend the plans for refusal due to noise from the dogs potentially affecting the sheep.

However, on the morning of the meeting the council received a fresh representation from the National Sheep Association, which had previously objected to the plans and wanted to add that permission had not been sought from all the farmers who own land next to the proposed dog field.

Darlington and Stockton Times: People at the planning meeting, which did no go ahead

The organisation added: “Chasing and barking can be just as stressful to sheep as physical attacks, without the visual injury.”

The public gallery was packed with people but before the meeting was due to get underway, a council officer intervened to say that no decision would be made on the day.

This was because of the new information from the National Sheep Association which the officer said could change their recommendation to councillors, meaning a new report would have to be drafted.

The officer wanted to continue by giving a presentation on the plans but councillors instead voted to end the meeting.

Get all the latest news from North Yorkshire, Cleveland and County Durham with a digital subscription to the D&S Times. Click here

Cllr Andrew Williams (Conservatives & Independents, Ripon Minster & Moorside division) said for an objection to be put forward so late in the day was “simply not acceptable”.

He added: “If what we’re being told is that officers’ advice might change, it’s only fair to those who are here to have all of that information in a proper written report so they can consider it. I believe to proceed any other way is undemocratic and not appropriate procedurally.”

His comments were backed up by Cllr Nick Brown (Conservative, Wathvale & Bishop Monkton). He said: “It’s a sad thing that all these people have come in expectation.”

After the meeting ended, chair Cllr Nathan Hull (Conservative, Washburn & Birstwith), told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the committee had no choice to defer the meeting as due process had to be followed. He suggested the plans could come back to councillors either next month or in March.

But the decision did not go down well with those who had travelled down from Mickley.

One resident told the LDRS: “It’s farcical, is this democracy?”