Ottery dog-ban debate drags on

PUBLISHED: 15:05 07 June 2009 | UPDATED: 09:20 18 June 2010

THE issue of whether a decision on Ottery dog-control orders should be made by the town council or the district council will be resolved on Wednesday (June 10).

THE issue of whether a decision on Ottery dog-control orders should be made by the town council or the district council will be resolved on Wednesday (June 10).

Environmental health bosses this week recommended for a second time that East Devon District Council's (EDDC) executive board should not include a bid to ban dogs from Winter's Lane playing field and to restrict them to leads in the Land of Canaan in its region-wide re-vamp of dog control orders.

The proposals were originally to form part of a new East Devon wide dog control policy, but district council officers are recommending that the strength of feeling in Ottery and other areas such as Honiton and Seaton over the plans mean the decision should be made at the most local level.

If councillors heed the offices' suggestion, the matter will be left to Ottery town councillors, which are in favour of the proposals.

Last month EDDC left campaigners for and against the proposed orders frustrated as it delayed a decision by a month, using tax-payers cash to commission a further report into controversial areas.

However, in the report, environmental health manager Andrew Ennis comes to the same conclusions he did months ago.

He said: "My view is that the evidence of need, taking into account the views of dog walkers and other users, is not conclusive and it is not possible to justify a district wide approach."

Town councillors have accused EDDC of "passing the buck" and have said "local pressure" and the "personal" nature of the debate mean the decision should be made at district level.

Concerns that finding the finance to enforce the measures would fall with the town council were also raised.

Campaign group Ottery Dogs has long protested against the proposals.

Existing dogs-on-leads bye-laws apply to both Ottery sites. Mr Ennis said these laws had "fallen into disuse" over time. He also points out that unless members decide to make a new dog control order in relation to both sites, both byelaws would remain in place until "revoked."

Play areas at both sites will remain dog-free zones.

Read next week's Herald for a full account of Wednesday's meeting and its outcome.

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