Ottery dog ban compromise

PUBLISHED: 19:09 15 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:26 18 June 2010

Dog owners have been told to follow the rules or face a fine

Dog owners have been told to follow the rules or face a fine

COUNCIL bosses agreed to ban dogs from Winters Lane playing field last Wednesday, but pooch-owners look set to be handed a small part of the site.

COUNCIL bosses agreed to ban dogs from Winters Lane playing field last Wednesday, but pooch-owners look set to be handed a small part of the site.

Emotions ran high at a dramatic East Devon District Council (EDDC) executive board meeting as a compromise to "split" the field in half was entertained then rejected by members, who then agreed to ban dog-walkers but allocate a small, fenced off strip of the field to them.

A proposal that dogs must be kept on leads in the Land of Canaan was given the go-ahead and the measure is expected to come into effect by late summer. Anyone caught flouting it will be handed a fixed penalty notice.

Ottery residents may have to be consulted for a second time before the Winters Lane ban becomes a reality after it was agreed that an area of around 10 yards at the Oak Close end of the field could be fenced off for dog-walkers to use.

As the Herald went to press yesterday, EDDC's head of environmental health Simon Smale said the council was "checking with lawyers" whether a further public consultation was needed on the issue.

During a half-hour debate on Ottery, councillor David Cox urged executive board members to adopt the Winters Lane ban so the field can be used as a designated playing area for children.

Fellow ward member Roger Giles wanted to see further talks held with campaigners to see if a compromise could be reached. He said: "I regret what has happened in the way this campaign and debate has taken place.

"In all my time as a councillor I've never seen an issue put people at odds with each other like this has.

"There has been too much passion, the emotions have been too great. It's a contentious issue and I hope we can do some reining back."

Cllr Graeme Brown then stepped in, saying it was "decision time" and described a suggestion the field be "split" in half to accommodate both dog-walkers and a childrens' play area as "just not on."

He said: "You can't take away half of what has been a long established playing field."

"I don't buy into the approach there is nowhere else to walk dogs (in Ottery).

"I remember this council helped get £40,000 for the Millenium Green to make it an area where people can walk their dogs. I accept its no good for disabled people."

Had the decision not been reached it was revealed existing byelaws on both sites, which state dogs must be kept in leads, would have remained in place, meaning offenders would have faced prosecution in magistrates court.


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