Many remain unaware of orders banning dogs from 11 parks across north Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 13:48 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:38 01 July 2019
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Dogs have been banned from 11 parks across North Norfolk since last November, but many residents are unaware because of a lack of signs.
Dogs have been banned from 11 parks across north Norfolk since last November, but many residents are unaware because of a lack of signs.
For the last eight months, dogs have been banned from parks in Fakenham, Cromer, Bacton, Northrepps and Happisburgh, but a delay in making the signs means they are only being placed this week.
North Norfolk District Council consulted local councils on new dog bans, or Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), in February 2017. Councils made recommendations for dog restrictions based on complaints of dog fouling and danger to children, which were then implented by the district council.
The orders replace older powers, meaning violating them is considered an anti-social behaviour offence and can be fined up to £1000. Previously, concerns have been expressed that the measures could harm north Norfolk's appeal as a dog-friendly visitor destination.
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Scientific officer James Ashby said: "We tried our best to consult everyone on the proposed changes, but we cannot be held responsible for people who did not make their views known, we consider all aspects of the bans, and review them every three years."
In Fakenham, six parks have dog restrictions, including Queen's Road Recreation Ground, Whitelands play area and the parish churchyard. Outright bans are in place in play areas on Trap Lane and Hayes Lane.
The picnic area by the River Wensum on Gogg's Mill Road requires dogs to be on leads, as does The Meadow park in Cromer, while dogs are totally banned from the play area there and from all of Fearns Park. Northrepps football field, Happisburgh playing field and Bacton memorial ground will also receive new signs for their banned areas.
The original signs used complex maps of the ban areas, which the district council felt were unclear.
Pet owners have argued the orders require costly signage, are unenforecable and restrict dogs' right to exercise. They also do nothing to address problems posed by wild animals and littering, which they claim is a greater nuisance than dog fouling.
George Acheson, mayor of Fakenham during the consultation period, said the district council had been "a bit more draconian that we expected, we were in favour of keeping dogs on leads in most areas.
"The dog fouling in some play areas was quite sordid and certainly a problem, so we made recommendations, and made sure there were still palces to walk dogs like at Aldiss Park. At the end of the day, the decisions were made by the district council."