Complaints of dog mess on popular Sidmouth recreation site

Complaints have been raised about an 'increasing' problem with dog mess on the Ham

Complaints have been raised about an 'increasing' problem with dog mess on the Ham - Credit: Archant

Trustee of the Ham vows to clampdown on irresponsible owners, but urges people to report incidents

Complaints over dog mess have seen the trustee of a popular family recreation spot vow to clamp down on irresponsible owners.

Concerns were raised this week about an ‘increasing’ problem with canines fouling on the Ham – a play area and grassland regularly used by young children. Some residents say walkers allowing their pets to run free is exacerbating the issue.

Sidmouth Town Council holds the land in trust and has responded – saying it is more than willing to take action and would not rule out a complete ban, but it relies on people getting in touch to raise awareness of the issue.

Town clerk Christopher Holland said: “None of these complaints have come to us and I always urge people to notify the relevant authority. There is something we can do - we can take all sorts of measures. If the ‘keep dogs on leads’ rule is not being adhered to, we can ban dogs altogether, but that is not something we would do lightly. It’s a community area and I would say to anyone - use common sense. It’s quite awful for families who are coming across any dog mess and, indeed, dogs out of control can be very frightening for young children.”

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He argued against putting more dog poo bins on the site, saying the town council does not want to actively encourage dog walkers, who can use the allocated area of beach nearby and bins which are very close to the Ham.

The matter was raised on social media website Streetlife, with residents saying they have taken children or grandchildren to the play area, only to be confronted with ‘disgusting’ dog mess on the ground, or left in bags.

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One keen walker said the problem is on the increase across the Sid Valley and, while it is only the negligence of a small minority of dog owners, these few spoil the enjoyment for everyone.

Report incidents of fouling, loose dogs or litter on the Ham to the town council by calling 01395 512424, or emailing

East Devon District Council is currently consulting on proposals that include tighter controls on dog walkers.

Find out about the proposals and give feedback before January 31, 2017, via

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