Dog-owners in Ottery rejoice as council block field ban

The message was ‘leave Winter’s Lane field alone’ as Ottery dog-owners and the town council united to block plans to fence it off.

At Monday’s meeting councillors agreed to tell East Devon District Council (EDDC) to scrap long-running plans for a segregated area for dog-walkers on the field.

The decision came after a long battle by local group ‘Ottery Dogs’ against any form of dog control order on the recreational area, and the saga may have finally reached a conclusion.

In February 2010 Ottery Town Council agreed to support plans to ban dogs from the field except for a small fenced-off strip at the bottom end, but EDDC has never acted on it.

District Councillor David Cox said work would start soon, so dog-owners travelled to the council meeting, held in the Narthex in West Hill, to urge councillors to ask the field to be left alone, as they said there was no desire from the public for it be segregated.

Mayor Glyn Dobson, who lives next to the field, said the councillors only supported plans in the first place because they were told they had the choice of a segregated area or a complete dog ban.

But most councillors decided there was no support for the proposal from the people of Ottery, and voted in favour of telling EDDC, who will still have to make the final decision, to drop the proposal.

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The decision drew applause from the dog-owners present, and one of them hopes this will draw a line under a bitter feud which developed over Winter’s Lane field.

Adrian Forster said: “I am delighted that the community and the town council as a whole now share a similar position.”

He added the decision has revived people’s faith in local politics.