Dog ban in Priory Park remains under new powers to fine
The ban on dogs in Priory Park and Bishop's Palace Gardens will continue, despite strong support for change from some residents.
Dogs are also not permitted on beaches at Selsey, East Wittering and Bracklesham as new powers to fine owners £100 for ‘dog-related nuisance’ like fouling in green areas across the district were approved.
Chichester District Council’s cabinet voted in a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) Dog Control, giving greater power to wardens to issue penalties.
Cllr Roger Barrow said he was ‘surprised’ to see the majority of respondents to the consultation wanting dogs allowed in both parks and by continuing the ban the council ‘might stand accused of ignoring the results’.
He said: “I’ve always believed our public parks should be open and accessible to all as far as possible. By putting an exclusion on dogs in Bishop’s Palace Gardens and on Priory Park we are effectively saying to a third of our population you can’t use those parks with your dogs.
“But I do fully understand these parks are used for picnics and with children playing so we have to be quite careful.”
CDC environment manager Alison Stevens said a ‘balanced approach’ had been taken, adding there were ‘many other open spaces’ to take a dog.
She said: “It (Priory Park) is very much a park where people are sitting on the floor picnicking, a lot of young people on the floor, and I think there’s a greater risk.
“It’s really the public health risk that’s made us continue with the exclusion for the area. Where there are dogs, even on the lead, unfortunately there are owners that will not pick up, so there is the risk potentially of toxicaria etcetera.”
Leader Tony Dignum added: “As a member for the Friends of Priory Park I don’t want any change on this one.”
A major fear is for farmers whose livestock can be disrupted by out of control dogs, and wardens can now make owners to put their dogs on leads on all public land with public access.
Fines for not removing dog foul can now be issued on roads, verges footpaths and bridleways, sports grounds, cemeteries and specific areas around the district such as Fishbourne Meadows and playing field; Brandy Hole Copse and Petworth Park Sports Ground.
CDC is looking at body cameras for its two wardens.
Mrs Stevens added: “We very much rely on the public...and any evidence they can give will assist us.”
The full list of specific areas where the PSPO applies for fouling of land on dogs: Fishbourne Meadows; Fishbourne Playing Field; Fernhurst Recreation Ground; Maybush Copse; Quay Meadow in Bosham; Brandy Hole Copse; The sports area at the Cowdray Ruins in Midhurst; West Wittering Eastate; East Head; Cakeham Estate; North Mundham Playing Field; Petworth Park Sports Ground; Haverstock Park in Graylingwell, Chichester.
Dog exclusion zones are: Bishop’s Palace Gardens and Priory Park (both Chichester); The foreshore and beach at East Wittering (from groyne A49 to S1); The foreshore and beach at Selsey (from groyne E26 to E33); The foreshore and beach at Bracklesham (from groyne A21 to A25).
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