Gosport Borough Council forced into changing proposals for a new dog order following consultation

PEOPLE power looks to have won the day after a council changed its proposals to tackle dog fouling.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:56 am

Gosport Borough Council said it was considering a public space protection order to put restrictions on dog walkers in certain areas.

Now following hundreds of responses in a consultation, the proposals have been watered down.

Councillor Graham Burgess, chairman of the community board, said: ‘The whole point was to listen to what people had to say, and we were happy to revise the proposals.

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‘Many dog owners and dog walkers had strong views, which we’ve taken into account. I hope this is clear from the changes we’ve made.

‘In a densely-populated borough like Gosport, we do believe new rules are needed to deal with people leaving dog mess in public spaces and not controlling their dogs.

‘Councillors get many complaints from residents about these issues. They’re very high on the list of local people’s concerns.

‘We know the majority of people who own or walk dogs are responsible. The proposals are aimed at the minority who aren’t.’

At a community board meeting in November, new plans were unveiled that would have banned people from walking more than four dogs at a time in public spaces.

Dogs would have also been banned from all sports pitches throughout the year.

But an overwhelming majority who responded to the consultation said they did not agree with some of the new measures the council was looking to introduce.

With 339 responses to the original proposals, there were 65 people in support and 185 against.

There were 78 mixed responses and 11 responses which just asked questions.

In papers released ahead of a meeting next week, the council has scrapped a plan to ban dogs from all sports pitches, now proposing a ban during sports events.

It has also dropped a proposal that anyone walking three or more dogs could only have two off a lead at a time.

But the plan to allow walkers to have a maximum of four pooches on a lead still remains.

Alison Windle, who runs dog walking company A Fleeting Visit in Gosport, said she was pleased with the changes.

Alison said: ‘I think the rules of banning dogs from sports pitches was ridiculous.

‘Even if you were to ban dogs, you would still get foxes and badger fouling there.

‘The council could put white lines down anywhere and call it an open space.

‘The way the amendments stand now, I am fairly happy.

‘But I can see why the people who own more than four dogs would be annoyed.’

Anyone using a guide dog would be exempt from the rules.

Councillors on the community board will make a decision at 6pm on March 8 in the town hall.