Dog walkers criticise Costessey parish council’s dog lead policy

More than 25 dog walkers descended on a Costessey Parish Council meeting to complain about a move to make them keep their dogs on a lead in two park areas.

The dog walkers went to the meeting on Tuesday night to protest against the policy for Longwater Lane Recreation Ground and Breckland Park, and to complain about the consultation process that the council had been through.

They said they were being punished by the behaviour of a minority of dog owners and questioned whether the majority of people agreed with the move.

Dog walker Dr Rita Chotain, of Longdell Hills, Costessey, said she regularly cleared up litter and had broken her toe on a peg left in the ground, but did not complain about others using the parks.

The dog walkers also complained that they had not been given good enough notice that the matter was to be discussed at a meeting in July and criticised the way the council had unveiled the policy on its Costessey Contact newsletter, which many said they were yet to receive.

Council chairman Vivienne Bell said that the matter had been on the meeting agenda for July.

She said: 'It was done in a fair and even way, anybody could have come, as at Costessey parish council we always discuss things.'

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Councillors said they were aware that the majority of dog owners were responsible, but they had received complaints about dog mess on the fields. Mrs Bell added that there had always been signs about keeping dogs on leads but they had previously chosen to overlook this.

The newsletter said that it would be enforced when appropriate signage was posted, however councillors acknowledged that they had no way of enforcing it.

The notice also added that dogs could continue to run freely at the old cricket ground off West End, Gunton Lane Recreation Ground and Bunkers Hill.

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