Pets are often just as much a part of the family as children, and for slick city workers daycare for their dogs is a very real consideration.
Animal lover and former police dog handler Tom Senior, who has just moved to Flaunden, spotted this canine cavity in the market and set up his own dog walking and daycare service, and is now bringing it to Dacorum.
At a meeting of the borough council’s development control committee last night, 25-year-old Tom spoke passionately about his business City Pups and urged councillors to approve his planning application for a base on Green Belt land in Upper Bourne End Lane.
Tom’s idea, already operational in the capital, involves picking up dogs from London homes and keeping them exercised and entertained during the day while their owners are at work.
His proposals – to drive a maximum of two vans at any one time to the Bourne End field, opposite the driving range, for three staff members to care for 23 dogs – were met with many questions from the committee, who had concerns about shelter for the animals and workers, noise levels and green screening.
Businessman Tom, originally from Nottinghamshire, explained temporary shelter in the form of trailers and gazebos could be erected on the site to protect the dogs and staff without damaging the Green Belt, while noise levels would be at a minimum and only during daytime hours.
A fence around the site would be reduced in height after five years, once greenery has grown above it, to prevent a long-term impact on the visual amenity for neighbours.
The application to change the use of the land was granted by a majority vote, with only councillor Rosemarie Hollinghurst voting against.
Environmental Science graduate Tom said: “Not wanting to take handouts from the government, I fell into dog-walking. By working hard to provide a high-quality service the business became more in demand, allowing me to provide a small number of jobs.
“We have been extremely careful to alleviate any concerns posed by the council in this application. I am pleased it has been passed to allow us to continue improving the lives of our dogs and provide small-scale employment for people who care about what they do in this extremely difficult climate.”