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Cambridge dog park fails to secure retrospective planning permission

A Cambridgeshire dog park has been refused retrospective planning permission for its facility near Peterborough. 

Applicant Jason Dean, owner of The Dog Play Co, was seeking permission to change the use of land between the junction of The Droveway and Northey Road from an agricultural field to a dog exercise park. 

The company has installed various play equipment on site, a shipping container for storage, and wooden fencing. These have been added to the site since spring 2022, when the landowners granted him use of the field for exercising the dogs, but without planning consent.  

As the land is near an ancient monument, Historic England deemed the additions “unauthorised works”, but said the works were relatively superficial and it would not take further action and it was “best considered as a planning matter”. 

In its decision notice, Peterborough City Council (PCC), said: “In future, you should refrain from undertaking any physical works on site without the required Ancient Monuments consent or risk a criminal prosecution and penalties to a maximum of £50,000.” 

PCC said that because there would be four part-time staff on-site running the business, there is “a clear potential for an increase in traffic” to it and that insufficient information about how this would be managed has been submitted by the applicant. 

In addition, the application is also not in line with planning policy, because it would constitute a development in the countryside which is outside its Local Plan. 

In response, Dean told the BBC: “I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong or that changing the land from an agricultural field to a dog exercise park would cause this much trouble. 

“Everything comes with consequences when you don’t follow the rules, but as a small business, I did not know it would be seen as making a big change. 

“I felt like a criminal seeing it reported that we could face those fines, it is damaging.” 

However, the company’s plan was more popular with local residents, receiving 22 letters of support, with members of the public noting the play park’s “good community value”. 

The company now plans to appeal against the decision. 

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