Ottery field to get dog-walking zone
DOG walkers who use Ottery s Winters Lane Playing field look set to be handed a designated area to the south of the site after a surprise proposal to place the zone next to a children s play area was rejected by town officials on Monday.
DOG walkers who use Ottery's Winters Lane Playing field look set to be handed a designated area to the south of the site after a "surprise" proposal to place the zone next to a children's play area was rejected by town officials on Monday.
Councillors have long backed East Devon District Council's (EDDC) bid to ban dogs from the field, as they believe it should be used as a play area and children and dogs do not mix.
A proposal to create a 'dogs-leg' strip around the field's existing play-area, was drawn up by deputy mayor Ian Holmes and district councillor David Cox, but caused consternation with their fellow officials.
A suggestion for a site meeting was dismissed when councillors were told by Mayor Glyn Dobson their decision over the matter had to submitted to EDDC by the following day (Tuesday).
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Mr Dobson, who, along with Mr Holmes did not vote on the matter as they both live in Oak Close, said an alternative EDDC proposal to place the area at the Oak Close end of the field would lead to cars blocking the private road, prove more costly, and would not provide adequate access for disabled residents.
However, Councillor Ray Bloxham said: "Personally I can't see the sense in having a walking area adjacent to the children's play area. A solution that separates children and dogs is worth the extra cost."
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Councillor Peter Williams agreed, reminding members that the dog ban was first proposed after concerns about uncontrolled dogs mixing with children.
He said: "We can't put those dogs right back against a children's play area.
"Cost should not be the most prominent issue here- we need to look for the most appropriate solution to the problem and then find the money."
County and district councillor Roger Giles said he was "miffed" at being left "in the dark" over the dog-zone proposals. He said "I'm surprised to come along here tonight and find a specific proposal on the table. We didn't know anything about it and I wish I had."
John Harding asked whether campaign group Ottery Dogs had been consulted over the proposals and said: "please can we find out their view before we vote?"
Councillors then consulted resident and Ottery Dogs representative for the night Adrian Forster, who suggested using a strip of land along the southern edge of the playing field.
He said: "It may not be the most cost-effective solution but is the best for many people."
Councillors unanimously voted in favour of Mr Forster's proposal. A final decision on the area will be made by EDDC when it rubber-stamps a region-wide revamp of dog control orders later this month.