A field in a Suffolk market town could welcome owners looking for a safe place to walk and exercise their dogs, as plans to create an enclosed dog field have been submitted to a council. 

An application to Babergh District Council, prepared by Acorus on behalf of Mr R Mann, seeks the change of use of an agricultural field for exercising dogs at Shepherds Rest off Pond Hall Road in Hadleigh.

The applicant has proposed 2.22 acres of the 16 acre site, which is currently farmed for hay and silage, would be used for the dog field as part of the diversification of the site. 

The dog field would allow customers to exercise up to eight dogs at one time and comes amid growing concerns over the impact the Covid pandemic had on dog training and socialisation. 

A statement on behalf of the applicant said: "Since the Covid pandemic, dog ownership has increased significantly with many first-time dog owners uncomfortable with their dogs mixing with other dogs and puppies requiring safe secure training areas.

"Some dogs are reactive to other dogs, which means they are nervous in the company of other dogs and other environmental challenges.

"This in turn has led to a rising need for safe, secure exercise areas where there are fewer distractions."

The applicant could use the field as a dog walking facility for up to 28 days without planning permission and with no control over the number of dogs on the land but, according to the statement, they wish to apply for permission to provide the facility all-year round.

Plans include a two metre perimeter fence using anti-climb stock fencing.

There would be a car parking area with customer access via a padlocked gate, which visitors would secure on entry to prevent dogs from escaping.