New gate to allow residents access to Norfolk ground in dog fouling row

Martin Fairweather, chairman of Diss Cricket Club

Martin Fairweather, chairman of Diss Cricket Club - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk cricket club has agreed to install a new gate at its ground to allay nearby residents' concerns they were being prevented from using the land because of dog fouling.

Diss Cricket Club will put the gate in a gap in the fence surrounding the club's Rectory Meadow ground which the club had closed to prevent walkers getting in with their dogs, which foul on the pitch.

The closure had sparked a row between the club and residents in Rectory Meadow who complained they were not able to walk across the meadow as a shortcut to get to the town centre.

The club's chairman Martin Fairweather said the gate would be spring loaded to shut automatically after a member of the public had walked through.

He added: 'We have agreed, between the council and the cricket club, that that is the best way forward because it fills a hole in the fence and allows locals access to the meadow.'

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The hole had developed because the fence had fallen into disrepair which allowed the public to get access to the meadow from a footpath that runs alongside Skelton Road.

The terms of the club's lease of the land from the council meant it was responsible for maintaining the fence and a dog control order introduced by the council two or three years ago which states dogs were not allowed on Rectory Meadow because it is a dedicated sports ground.

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The club could therefore be liable if a child was to contract the disease toxocariasis, which is carried in dog faeces and can cause blindness in children and there are signs up warning dog walking was not allowed.

Mr Fairweather added the council would be monitoring the situation and could enforce the dog order in future if walkers were found to be in breach.

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