A FORMER estate agents could get a new leash of life as a dog cafe.

In recent years, dog cafes have sprung up across the region including in Newcastle, Stockton and Seaham– allowing customers to spend time with their four-legged friends while enjoying hot drinks and food.

Now, a proposal to Durham County Council by applicant Emy Jones aims to convert a former business space at 36 Durham Road, Blackhill, near Consett.

Listed under the company name The Chillin’ Dog K9 Cafe, the plans are expected to create three jobs.

The proposed opening times are 9am to 5pm, seven days a week.

During consultation, council officers requested more information on how the venue will control the noise of dogs barking.

This includes details on sound insulation and concerns noise could carry to a flat above the venue.

However, evidence from the applicant has listed a raft of measures to tackle noise including notices and limiting the number of dogs in the venue.

A dog chill out area will also be provided and could be sound proofed on request.

So far, several public comments have been submitted over the plans, with one supporter stating it could help improve the mental health of residents.

Gareth Chamberlain said: “With the current decline in mental health services, a pet-friendly coffee shop will be a vital addition to the area.

“It is well known that pets are a great help to people with mental illnesses

and being able to meet and chat with other pet owners could create a fantastic support group.”

While supporter Michael Rafferty added: “This is a great idea, somewhere local to bring the pooch.”

Public comments are open on the application until Friday, June 28 and can be made in writing or on Durham County Council’s website.

A final decision on the plans is expected by Wednesday, July 31.