Park sale angers dog walkers but enables Hotel Chocolat to expand

Park sale angers dog walkers

Hotel Chocolat has expansion plans at its Huntingdon factory. The dog walking park is at the bottom of Redwongs Way behind the building - Credit: Google Maps

Selling part of a Huntingdon park used by dog walkers was crucial in allowing Hotel Chocolat to expand its factory and create more jobs, town clerk Philip Peacock has said.

But the move by Huntingdon Town Council has upset dog owners who use the park, next to the chocolate factory based in Redwongs Way, to exercise their pets and to meet each other.

Tiffany Evans, who walks her puppy at the park, off  Sallowbush Road, said residents were "disheartened" by the loss of the green space which was the only one in the area and was convenient for those with mobility issues.

But Mr Peacock said the council had to strike a balance so Hotel Chocolat could expand and had sold part of the site. It was now looking for a replacement nearby.

"The town council has not sold it all, it has retained a 10m wide strip which will enable dog walkers to continue. We are looking at another dog walking area as well.

"It is a question of striking a balance so that the town can retain the factory which can expand and create more jobs," Mr Peacock said.

Tiffany said: "I am at the park two or three times a week training my puppy. I see on average three or four other people in the hour I am there, meaning on average this space is used by 252 people per week between 8am and 8pm for varying reasons."

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Tiffany said residents were "shocked and saddened" by the loss of the green space and urged the council to provide an enclosed replacement.

Hotel Chocolat has just applied to Huntingdonshire District Council to expand the factory in an update of plans approved in 2018.

Its application said: "The proposal is to extend the existing production facility on the site to cope with the increased demand that the expansion of the business has given rise to.

"To further future proof the site, an extended surface car park is proposed to the east of the site, adjacent to existing surface car parking. This will ensure sufficient parking for anticipated staff levels following the expansion."