Dogs banned from memorial gardens

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They were responding to parents’ fears that children’s safety was at risk from dog mess in the play area’s sand pit.

Town clerk Isabelle Barrett told members of the town council’s leisure services committee which is responsible for the play area that the problem was getting worse,.

She said that the gates of the park were locked overnight with the gates opening at 6.30am. Council groundstaff started work at 7am and always raked the sandpit – but it seemed people with dogs cam e in after that and allowed their pets to foul in the sand.

Cllr Warwick Hirst said: “If this is happening the only way to stop it is to ban dogs from the gardens. At the moment there is a problem and it is important that we do this for the safety of the children.”

Committee chairman Cllr Michael Jefferys said: “The memorial gardens are primarily for the use of children and we have no choice. We have to protect the health of the children using the gardens.”

However Cllr Amy Starkey opposed the move. She said: “It seems a shame to have to go down this route and take something away that is being used by the public. At a time when we want to be taking people with us, there could be some backlash against this decision.”

Cllr John Morrey said he thought the move seemed “quite draconian” and asked that the decision be reviewed at the end of the summer.

Councillors voted 9-1 in favour of banning dogs from the gardens.