Until recently only guide and assistance dogs have been allowed into the shopping centre but new director, and dog owner, James Roberts has introduced the change. 

James, whose Beagle, Barkley, often accompanies him to work, said: “I think banning dogs is unnecessary and antiquated. A ban makes the assumption that dog owners do not have control over their pets which is not the case. The majority of owners have well behaved dogs and it just makes life a lot easier if they can be brought into the centre in line with a number of shops who now welcome dogs.” 

Signs banning dogs have been removed from the centre and owners will be expected to keep their pets on a lead. 

James added: “I want The Beacon to be inclusive and I’ve had really positive feedback about the change. We won’t be putting signs up to ask owners to keep their dogs on a lead because I believe our customers will have the common sense to know that’s what is expected in a busy shopping centre.” 

The new policy has been welcomed by DogFriendly.co.uk that has more than 59,000 businesses, including shops, hotels, self-catering properties, pubs and beaches, on its database. 

Steve Bennett, from DogFriendly.co.uk said: “I am delighted to hear that The Beacon is going to be allowing dogs. I’ve visited The Beacon in the past and was really disappointed I couldn’t take my dog into the centre. 

“Despite the increasing number of businesses that do welcome dogs, it is still unusual for shopping centres so it’s great that The Beacon is being innovative and leading the way with this new initiative. We’ll be letting everyone on our database know that their dogs are welcome.”