Festival Place in Basingstoke has implemented a dog-friendly policy following a surge in pet ownership post lockdown and in response to increased demand from retailers and shoppers. Having successfully trialled the policy for the past four months, the move has now become permanent. More than 60 stores have agreed to allow dogs inside, including restaurants, cafes, clothes stores, jewellery stores and banks.
Neil Churchill, centre director at Festival Place, said: “We have been hoping to extend our current assistance dogs’ policy to welcome dogs for some time now. Dog ownership boomed during the pandemic, and we hope this will make life a bit easier for those visitors who want to enjoy a day out with us but are anxious about leaving their dogs behind.
“As a true town centre-based scheme, we are closer to our local community than many other comparable shopping centres. We hope that the introduction of this new policy further contributes to creating a welcoming and inclusive space for our visitors”.
To help local dog owners get the opportunity to familiarise their favourite pet with the centre and encourage them to come shopping with their dog, Festival Place is partnering with Lupo Academy. The local dog trainer provider will hold a three-week course available to all owners of puppies under 20 weeks.