PEOPLE living in Dobcross have reacted angrily to plans to convert part of a field into an area where dog owners can walk and exercise their animals.
Land at Butterhouse Lane, close to its junction with Brownhill Lane, would become the Dogcross Field and Agility Park if an application to Oldham Council is granted.
However, the plans have sparked a furious response from neighbours, even though a design and access statement says: “As the dog field is so isolated, we do not consider it will affect any of our neighbours, due to the large distances between it and any habitable buildings.”
The prospect of more traffic heading along Butterhouse Lane and access to the area – with claims work done is illegal – is the main concern.
One response says: “The only historic access into the field is within the Holly Grove conservation area hamlet.
“This NEW access has been created in the last few months using heavy machinery to clear a large amount of earth.
“This is surely an illegal development within the green belt, completely unfit for the suggested purpose, mostly obscured and highly dangerous for users of the narrow lane on which it is situated.
“For a very small break in a dry stone wall to be developed at will into a vehicle access for commercial use is a joke.
“A narrow single-track country lane with no formal passing places already struggles to cope with existing traffic. It is completely unsuitable for the large increase in traffic – up to 42 cars per day travelling to and from the site.
“There is no need for this facility. There is an existing dog walking field less than two miles away which has lots of booking availability.
“It is very hard to believe and frankly embarrassing for the applicant to think that he/she did not require a planning application before using heavy machinery to create a new access and begin developing agricultural grazing land into a 94 hour per week commercial operation.
“It is totally unnecessary, a guaranteed recipe for disaster and the location could not be any less suited.”
Documents say the mother and daughter-in-law of the family that owns the land would manage the dog field, if it gets the go ahead.
It could operate from 7am until 9pm from Monday to Saturday and from 9am until 9pm on Sunday, with hours to be further dictated by darkness.
Dog walkers would be allocated pre-booked time slots, with a maximum of six dogs and three cars allowed at one allocated session.
They add: “Dogcross dog field is the ideal space for dog owners wanting to train their dogs in a relaxed environment off the leash, or dogs with poor recall, or do not enjoy being around other dogs or people, people who are unable to walk their dogs a long distance poor mobility, new puppies or rescue dogs who are being let off the lead for the very first time.”
However, at least 15 people have registered their objections, with one saying how it could affect their son’s health.
They said: “My son has a rare life limiting condition and suffers from Autism, we visit the farm as he loves to be around the animals and this provides much needed therapy for him.
“I believe allowing this project to go ahead would have an adverse effect on the alpacas who if were surrounded by the noise of dogs would be very easily stressed and this could lead to losing young during the mating season.
“I also think that if the alpacas were to get very stressed this would impact on my son benefitting from their company and take away much needed therapy for my son.”
Oldham Council’s planning committee will decide whether to grant or refuse the contentious application.