Dogs’ freedom to be limited in park

Worden Park, Leyland
Worden Park, Leyland

More areas of Worden Park are set to become ‘dogs on leads’ zones to prevent damage being caused to gardens and nuisance to visitors.

South Ribble Council has recommended its Dog Control Orders be updated to extend the restrictions to the formal gardens, maze, rose garden, walled garden and arts and crafts centre courtyards.

A document which went before the council’s cabinet last week reads: “The proposed Dogs on Leads Order would be beneficial for the formal gardens and rose garden as these areas are becoming increasingly used as dog exercise areas by visitors sitting on the benches and throwing balls across the gardens for their dogs.

“This is causing damage to the ornamental bedding displays as a result of the dogs running through the flower beds, and generally distracts from the quiet sitting area that the gardens are intended to provide.

“The maze, walled garden and arts and crafts centre courtyards are all areas which are generally popular with visitors, and are expected to become even more so in the future as a result of improvement works or new activities being established.

“Therefore, inclusion in a Dogs on Leads Order is considered appropriate to prevent damage to planting, equipment and property, or causing nuisance to visitors.”

The Worden Hall car park and main car park are already covered by the order, and dogs are banned from entering the children’s play area all together.

The new rules, which were voted through by the cabinet, also suggest that dogs should be on leads in Haig Avenue Green, Leadale Green, and Seven Stars Green in Leyland.

The document reads: “The Dogs on Leads Order proposed for these sites would prevent nuisance being caused to families using the play equipment.

“The amount of green space surrounding the play equipment is not considered sufficient to be used as a dog exercise area without dogs entering the play equipment areas or surrounding highways.”

Speaking at the meeting, Coun Peter Mullineaux, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and street scene, said: “There are certain orders I feel need tightening up across the borough now; there are some places where dogs just run free across play areas, and owners shouldn’t be allowed to let that happen.

“From the council’s point of view, with its zero tolerance approach, this is the way forward.”

The Dog Control Orders also cover issues such as dog fouling, and council officers can hand out £75 fixed penalty notices on the spot to any dog owners they catch not cleaning up after their pets, or allowing their dogs to walk without a lead in certain areas.

The new restrictions, which will be subject to a public consultation before they are enforced, also mean that dogs will be banned from six children’s play areas across South Ribble, which have all been refurbished since the Dog Control Orders were adopted in the borough in 2009.

In Leyland, Moss Side Village Green, Ryden Avenue, Worden Park and Farington Park all have dog exclusion areas already, but Farington’s is set to be extended under the new proposals.

There are concerns that the new regulations will not be welcomed in some parks, but Coun Phil Smith, cabinet member for regeneration, leisure and healthy communities, said the plans had come about because it’s what residents have been calling out for.

The document states: “There is a risk that the decision to adopt the Dogs on Leads Order may prove unpopular with some local dog walking visitors to some of the sites, and in particular Worden Park.

“However, the proposed area of Worden Park to be covered by the order represents less than three per cent of the total area of Worden Park currently available for dogs to be exercised off leads.”

It is a requirement to consult and advertise before confirming a site for inclusion in a Dog Control Order, and £600 has been earmarked for the cost of advertising for this scheme.

Coun Phil Hamman, cabinet member for shared services and corporate support, and ward councillor for Leyland St Mary’s which covers Worden Park, said: “It’s important to let people know where the areas are. People have complained about being fined on Worden Park’s car park for just letting their dogs jump out of their cars without a lead, saying they didn’t realise it wasn’t allowed.”

Council leader Margaret Smith added: “We are going to have to publicise this and signage is important.

“I think the £600 figure might have to be looked at again.”

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