Ottery dog-ban debate to drag on

PUBLISHED: 14:28 12 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:08 18 June 2010

OTTERY S dog-ban debate will drag on for at least another month after council bosses failed to make a Winters Lane playing field decision last week, leaving campaigners hot under the collar.

OTTERY'S dog-ban debate will drag on for at least another month after council bosses failed to make a Winters Lane playing field decision last week, leaving campaigners hot under the collar. Protesters against and supporters for the proposed measure were left confused and frustrated as East Devon District Council's (EDDC) executive board members commissioned a further report on contentious areas as part of its regional revamp of dog-control orders.

Members had been set to delegate the matter to Ottery town council, which has the power to impose and enforce the measure if it sees fit. A proposal demanding dogs must be kept on leads in the Land of Canaan looks set to become a reality as members agreed to "update" a raft of previous bye-laws- one of which applies to the park.

Anyone caught flouting the measure would be hit with an on the spot fixed penalty notice.

Winters Lane's field also has an unenforced, dogs on leads bye-law imposed on it, however, it is unclear if this will be updated as the authority has only consulted the public over a blanket ban.

The Herald understands EDDC has sought legal advice over this matter. Wednesday's delay left both Ottery Dogs and Ottery town council members, who oppose and support the proposed measures respectively, frustrated. Town councillors, faced with making a Winters Lane decision themselves, urged EDDC not to delegate the matter to them. Cllr Paul Lewis said "local pressure" and the "personal" nature of the debate in Ottery would make it "wrong" for the authority to "pass the buck" over making the decision. He added the town council would struggle to implement or enforce the ban- and public services could suffer if it was forced to do so. Ottery Dogs members once again turned out in force to plea that the proposed measure be scrapped, saying the field has been kept "meticulously clean". Both sides' requests fell on deaf ears as the board agreed to defer its decision until at least next month so a further report can be considered. The authority splashed tax-payers' cash on a two-month public consultation in the New Year. As a result, environmental health bosses filed a report which recommended both Ottery's proposed measures should be scrapped.


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