Birkenshaw fields set to be turned into a 'dog park' exercise area

Fields in Birkenshaw are to become a dog exercise area.

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Friday, 28th January 2022, 10:30 am
A 'dog park' has been approved for grazing land in Birkenshaw. The field can be seen close to Blue Hills Farm at the top of the image, above a larger field next to Whitehall Road West, which is earmarked for housing (image: Google)
A 'dog park' has been approved for grazing land in Birkenshaw. The field can be seen close to Blue Hills Farm at the top of the image, above a larger field next to Whitehall Road West, which is earmarked for housing (image: Google)

The 1.5 acres of grazing land close to Blue Hills Farm, on Whitehall Road West, will be used by up to three animals at a time as a “dog park” from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Sunday all year round.

It was approved by councillors at Kirklees Council’s strategic planning committee yesterday (Thursday).

The grassed area, which is currently green belt, is close to the headquarters of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, as well as an 8.7-acre site allocated for 123 homes as part of the council’s Local Plan.

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Members of the committee voted unanimously in favour of the project and accepted that the rural nature of the area meant limited disruption for people living nearby.

The committee’s approval comes as usage of private land for dog exercise is growing, particularly during the ongoing pandemic.

Dog owners across the country are hiring enclosed fields in which their animals can run around.

According to the website dogwalkingfields.com around 2,270 acres is being used each week, with the data resulting from the 756 fields in its directory. Hire costs per hour are around £10.

Some farmers who have spent in the region of £15,000 making a field secure can stand to make around £400 a week in hire costs during peak periods.

Councillors in Kirklees expressed their hope that the Birkenshaw fields would be “absolutely” securely fenced due to the proximity of the M62 motorway.

Coun Donna Bellamy (Con, Colne Valley) said: “I would hate for dogs to end up on the M62 because I could see that being a real recipe for disaster.”