Ottery dog-ban 'paws' after new twist in 'tail'

PUBLISHED: 16:48 23 October 2009 | UPDATED: 10:45 18 June 2010

OTTERY dog-walkers have been given a stay of execution over a controversial bid to ban them from Winters Lane playing field.

OTTERY dog-walkers have been given a stay of execution over a controversial bid to ban them from Winters Lane playing field.

There was yet another twist in the 'tail' of the long-running canine dispute last Wednesday after East Devon District Council (EDDC) bosses, who were set to rubber stamp a complete ban on the field, were collar-ed by passionate protestors and unhappy town representatives.

A "compromise" solution of a fenced-off dog area, sensationally scrapped just weeks ago, now looks set to be resurrected.

Prior to talks, campaigners and residents pleaded with councillors to re-consider imposing a complete ban, which would have come into immediate effect.

Councillors Ray Bloxham and Roger Giles also challenged the proposed ban, and championed an idea that dog-walkers should be given a 20 metre strip at the western end of the field instead.

Cllr Bloxham's suggestion seemed to 'winalot' of support from his fellow council members as they backed his compromise over a complete ban by more than three to one.

Mr Bloxham, who has attempted to settle "bad feeling" in Ottery over the protracted bid, told the Herald this week the dog-zone is "what is best for the town".

He said: "The compromise suits most people and allows everyone to carry on using the land as they have done for the last 50 years. I felt a total ban was the wrong way forward.

"A strip at the western end separates dogs from the field's children's play area and allows for the football area to operate fully, so everybody can use the field without the need to have a complete dog control order."

A public consultation will now take place over the suggested dog-walking zone. The issue will then go before EDDC executive board members for debate once again.

"I hope most people will be reasonably happy about this proposal," said Mr Bloxham, adding: "I'm hopeful it will go through."

To implement the compromise, EDDC could have had to pay as much as £3,500 to fence off an area of the field.

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