The recent petition organised by FoSML member , Kate Pittel has to date ( 9th September ) reached nearly 6000 supporters. It is increasing daily as word of mouth reaches parts of the population that Social media does not cover.
New ways of getting the message across to the people of Warwick and Leamington are being explored. Did you see the TV or listen to the radio interviews?
Many people from outside Warwick post codes use St Marys Lands and Newbold Comyn for recreation. Many of the temporary residents of the caravan park choose to use a caravan or motor home to enable them to take their dogs with them for holidays and breaks. The freedom of the Racecourse Common walk is attractive to them and many have chosen to support the petition.
Controversial suggestions to keep dogs on leads – and exclude them – in some areas across Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth might now be dropped after much public anger.
Warwick District Council (WDC) said the ideas were only early suggestions to update its dog control orders.
But due to the reaction by many dog walkers, WDC said any further public consultation will not take place. FoSML were not consulted at all which does not help the relationship.
The Licensing and Regulatory Committee on Monday 21st September agreed to go back to the statutory consultants to ask their views on maintaining the dog orders as they currently stand.
The committee agreed on July 8 that a pre-consultation on the renewal of the district’s Public Spaces Protection Orders in relation to Dog Control Orders could be undertaken with stakeholders prior to a public consultation taking place.
Some suggestions, which were made public, included keeping dogs on leads in additional areas of the Common as well as Newbold Comyn, Leamington and parts of Abbey Fields, Kenilworth, caused a great deal of public anger. The petition was well supported, thanks.
A spokesperson for WDC said: “The purpose of this pre-consultation was to inform the drafting of the revised orders before going out to public consultation; the suggestions consulted on during this phase were exactly that, and not final proposals.
“Unfortunately, these pre-consultation suggestions were placed in to the public domain and have, as a result, caused a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding.”
Cllr Judy Falp, portfolio holder for health and community protection, said: “As part of the legislation, in order to vary or amend any Dog Control Orders, we must undertake a full and fair public consultation.
“At this time, due to the level of public feeling regarding the pre-consultation suggestions, we feel that we are unable to undertake a fair consultation in which all of the facts are known.
“As a result, the Licensing and Regulatory Committee met on Monday September 21 and agreed to go back to the statutory consultants to ask their views on maintaining the dog orders as they currently stand.
“Their views will then be fed back to the committee to make a final decision at their meeting in October.”
Further information on Dog Control Orders and Public Spaces Protection Orders can be found at www.warwickdc.gov.uk/pspos.
At the same time discussions are being held at a working group level to fence off much of the current open space on the Common to protect birds nesting on the ground. To date FoSML committee have not been able to find the names of the people or details of the groups or bodies that were consulted about the dog orders so the FoSML comments are still correct. The effect of both WDC actions would be that people (and dogs) could only walk around the inner racecourse path and one of the four rights of way. This will be resisted by FoSML.