DOZENS of letters of support have backed a bid for the first dog care and training centre in Dumbarton.

Planners are recommending councillors approve a change-of-use application in the Vale of Leven Industrial Estate for Waggytails Dog Walking.

Owner Heather Maclean, who currently runs the dog walking service out of unit 13 on the site, said there was an “absolute need” for a dog care service.

She said the number of dog walkers in the area has doubled in the past six years of her business.

Ms Maclean told the Reporter: “There’s an absolute need for it in the area. More and more, dog care is changing and it’s fast becoming more Americanised.

“We create demand just by being there. People are spending more on their pets annually. The dog care sector is worth billions.”

There were 70 representations of support - and no objections - sent to West Dunbartonshire Council planners for the idea. Many backed having a facility that could care for pets when owners are working.

Planners said the dog care business would be a “departure” from their development plan for business and industry at the industrial estate.

But the site has been empty for two years and the grass area out front, once fenced in, will help dog health, said the application.

The report to the council’s planning committee on November 14 states: “The unit is located in an area of the industrial estate where there is a mixture of business/ industrial uses, as well as other non-industrial/business uses including indoor football pitches, a café and a dance studio.

“While there is likely to be a degree of noise associated with the use due to the potential for dogs barking, particularly within the outdoor area, the applicant has stated that the provision of exercise and stimulation will help to counteract the main reasons for barking i.e. loneliness, boredom, anxiety and the desire for attention.

“The applicant has also stated that they intend to install acoustic foam within the building.”

The business currently employs two full-time staff and intends to hire two more part-time workers initially.

Planners concluded: “It is considered that it would not have a detrimental impact on the amenity of the industrial estate or its attractiveness to future occupiers, and would allow an existing local business to grow in an appropriate location.”

If councillors approve the plan, a 1.8m-high fence will be erected around the area next to the unit and landscaping outside the perimeter.