March 1 2015 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
The custodians of a green space near Norwich admitted they were considering an extension to a dog free zone at Catton Park, but insisted they had no plans to completely ban man’s best friend.
Hundreds of Old Catton residents attended a meeting last night to air their views on proposals for the future of the historic park after fears were raised that new restrictions could be placed on dog owners.
The trustees of the 70 acre park commissioned a survey of users of the popular park, which revealed that 20pc of those questioned wanted dogs banned from the site.
However, officials from Old Catton Parish Council, the new trustees of the park, told a public meeting in the church hall that they hoped to find a compromise, which could include a larger dog free zone and places where owners would have to put their pets on a lead.
Glen Tingle, a trustee of the Catton Park Trust, said the organisation had spent £18,000 on a consultancy firm to draw up a ten year plan for the site to make it self sustainable.
However, some local residents said they did not go to the park because there were too many dogs and some people felt frightened by them running around.
“We want people to think about how dog owners and non dog owners can coexist so that everyone is happy and raise the funds to make it self sustainable. 50pc of those surveyed said they should leave it alone and there is nothing wrong with it. 30pc said that there is some compromise to be had and 20pc said dogs should be banned,” he said.
The debate came after the trust was awarded just under £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund Transition scheme earlier this year to help it find ways to make the park, which includes 20 acres of woodland, more sustainable.
The open meeting heard that the park cost around £50,000 a year to run and the cost of emptying dog poo bins was £2,800 a year. However, many of the more than 200 crowd said they would be prepared to contribute towards the cost of the bins.
Bradley Sabberton-Coe, chairman of the parish council, added that the trustees were considering the cost of widening the dog free zone in Catton Park. He added that the majority of dog owners kept their animals under control.
“This is not about stopping people using Catton Park. That is not what this meeting is about. What we are trying to do is make it a place where everyone can use it and the majority of users are dog owners,” he said.
Karen Tanner, of the Friends of Catton Park, added that local people could help contribute towards the upkeep and maintenance of the site by becoming paid up members of the friends group.
“The place is open to everyone and everyone should be considerate to everyone else. The problem with dog poo is a national one,” she said.
The park was designed by Humphry Repton in the 18th century.