Dog ban for Hawkenbury Rec?

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17 Responses

  1. Spencer Nash says:

    Due to a “glitch” every response to the PSPO consultation, before and including the 16 November, was not recorded. This is unbelievable how badly managed this has become. Email below:

    Dear Mr Nash

    Thank you for your earlier email(s).

    We have already received a number of responses to the PSPO consultation however we are aware that the initial wording on the online portal was confusing. We have since clarified the details and updated the portal to make it clear that we are not proposing to exclude dogs from Hawkenbury Recreation Ground.

    Did you respond to the online consultation during the period when it first opened, up to 5pm on Thursday 16 November?

    Our software provider has advised that they had a technical glitch in the system when the consultation first opened and as a result unfortunately not all responses were recorded. Please note only this consultation was affected.

    Because of this we have extended the consultation until 11.59pm, 7 January and we would be very grateful if you would take a few minutes and submit your views again so we can be sure we have captured everyone’s opinion.

    We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but we do want to hear what you think so please have your say

    Any comments already received by email have been noted and will be included in the final report to councillors.

    Terry Hughes

  2. Justin Ingham says:

    To the Members of the TWBC Cabinet,

    As a dog owning family and residents of Hawkesbury for the last 15 years and living on Napier Road looking on to the beautiful Hawkenbury Recreational ground, we are very upset and concerned by the proposed dog ban. We enjoy walking our Border Collie directly out our gate into the rec. It is an essential part of a healthy and balance lifestyle providing exercise and so many opportunities to meet the community and develop meaningful friendships. We know the value of a dog’s role in the mental well-being of several elderly members of our community. Some find it challenging to travel even the shortest of distance and so the convenience of walking their pets around their local park is an essential element of their quality of life.

    We agree with and understand the importance of protecting children in the play area and sports field, however, the areas that are designated to the pubic that are away from the sports fields and children’s play area should remain open to dogs and people. It is, after all, a basic freedom we should all enjoy.

    According to the Hawkesbury website, consultation has been amended twice since it was released. I would therefore be grateful if you could clarify if you have now removed Hawkesbury Recreation Grounds from the consultation or if the consideration of a complete dog ban is still on the table?

    Yours sincerely

    Justin Ingham

  3. Spencer Nash says:

    Share my response:

    Hi Terry Hughes,

    Thanks for your reply.

    Creating a exclusion around sports fields would only displace the problem, potentially, onto neighbouring footpaths.

    It would be more suitable to enforce dog owners to clear up after their mess – effective solutions in other councils includes installing CCTV and rewards for reporting dog fouling (Stafford & Hyndburn Council).


  4. Fred Finan says:

    Hi I thought I would share this rspeonse I got from Terry Hughes, I am not satisfied at all and will be asking further questions about the whole process, how it was started, who started it, the anticipated outcomes and how it will he measured. Most importantly in these times of severe constraights on finances I am very, very keen to have this whole process costed. Finally I would be interested f anyone else has had a reply and if it is a stock response from the CSU.
    Dear Mr Finan

    Councillor Tracy Moore has asked me to respond to your email about the Council’s consultation on a number of measures in relation to dog controls.

    As far as dog exclusion areas are concerned the proposal is not to stop dog walking in parks but to keep dogs out of children’s play areas and off sports pitches and to ensure that people walking their dogs have the means to clear up after them.

    The Hawkenbury Sports Pitches, as opposed to the whole recreation ground, had been added to the consultation following discussions with our Parks Team in light of comments made to them about players having to remove dog fouling prior to their matches. The list of locations in the consultation document has now been amended to reflect the original of intention of seeking comments in relation to introducing the exclusion powers to St Marks sports pitch and the Nevill Sport Grounds only.

    We are encouraging consultation comments from all users of our parks and sports facilities via the online form:

    I hope this provides the reassurance that we are not seeking to stop dog walkers using Hawkenbury Recreation Grounds.

    In respect of the foul language and littering during Sunday football matches I will pass your comments to the department responsible for litter enforcement and will alert the local PCSO of occurrences of abusive language in this public setting.

  5. Jayne Crookshank says:

    It would completely change the atmosphere of the Rec if they banned dogs. At the moment it is an open recreation ground enjoyed by a wide range of age groups from elderly people walking their dogs to young mums dads and children taking the family dog for exercise. Banning dogs would take away an area which provides fresh air, exercise and social interaction for the people of hawkenbury and further afield – please don’t let this happen.

  6. Spencer Nash says:

    Reply from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council:
    “In terms of the issue you raise about Hawkenbury Recreation Ground the prohibition to exclude dogs relates only to the sports pitches and not the recreation ground as a whole. I’m sorry this was not clear in the consultations.”

    Although they don’t make clear how they could enforce this without fencing the sports fields.

    • Dean Kenward says:

      I have asked the council to clarify what the exclusion zone will be? They are asking us to consult on a very wide area at the moment.

  7. Dean Kenward says:

    Dear Councillors

    After reading the article in the Times of Tunbridge Wells on 1 November 2017, I am disappointed and shocked at the council’s attack on dog owners and dog walkers.

    From the tone of the consultation document put out by the council, you would be remiss in thinking that owning a dog and walking it in our open spaces and recreation grounds is anti-social.

    The description of the PSPOs on the council website is as follows:
    PSPOs are intended to deal with nuisances or problems in a particular area that are detrimental to the local community’s qualify (sic) of life, by imposing conditions on the use of that area which apply to everyone. They are designed to ensure the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces, safe from anti-social behaviour.

    How can banning dogs (on or off lead) in our recreational spaces promote the local community’s ‘quality of life’? How does this measure ensure that the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces, free of anti-social behaviour? The majority of dog owners are law-abiding community members. When did walking and exercising your dog become anti-social? Do you expect local residents to start driving to out of town areas to walk their dogs or would you prefer that residents didn’t own dogs at all?

    The wording of the measure is as follows:
    The Council is considering using the Public Spaces Protection Order to prevent dog owners/walkers from bringing their animal into specified or signed areas whether or not the dog is leashed. This includes designated sports fields, fenced/enclosed children’s play areas and where there is a sign at its entrance(s) as a “dog exclusion area”. This prohibition strongly supports the dog fouling prohibition in that it prevents misuse of playing fields regularly used for sporting events.

    In relation to the Hawkenbury Recreation Ground, the largest user group outside of sport participants, has to be dog walkers. Over the summer months, there may be cricket matches on weekends with the odd game on weekday evenings. The cricket pitch is not used all the time and most dog walkers avoid the area when matches are on, so as not to interfere with the cricketers. The winter months are similar. There are grass football matches on the weekends, typically in the morning or early afternoons. I cannot recall a single weekday match on the grassed fields in the 7 years I have been walking my dogs in the Recreation Ground.

    Walking my dogs in the Recreation Ground has had to be the most sociable thing I have done since moving to Hawkenbury. I get daily exercise, I meet fellow dog walkers, I meet other park users and I became involved in my local village association, through walking my dogs in the recreation ground. I have taken an interest in my local community because I walk my dogs in the local area. Had dogs been banned from the start, I would not know as many people as I do now and would have to travel to exercise my dogs. To describe an activity enjoyed by millions of people up and down the country as anti-social is incredible.

    Yes, there are issues in the recreation grounds in relation to fouling of land and users not having the means to pick up their dog mess and these need to be addressed. This is a minority of people that flout the law, yet the law-abiding majority are to be punished for this. How have the existing dog fouling bye-laws been enforced? How many penalty notices or fines have been issued in the recreation grounds over the last 5 or even 10 years? I have not heard of a single report of a penalty or fine been issued in Hawkenbury Village.

    I have read the minutes of the cabinet meeting and I am surprised that Terry Hughes, Community Safety Manager seems to believe that the dog controls were the least contentious and enjoy wide support. Who has he spoken to? As chairman of the Hawkenbury Village Association, he certainly has not been in touch with me or any of the other committee members. The dog walkers I have spoken to in the last 3 days, do not agree that the matter is not contentious and they certainly do not support this measure.

    I will be encouraging as many people as I can to complete the survey online, to ensure that Terry Hughes and the cabinet can get a sense of how contentious an outright ban on dogs will be. By all means, fine people who litter and do not pick up after their dogs. Ensure that people have the means to clean up their dog, but do not tar all dog owners with the same brush.

    An outright ban on dogs in our parks and recreation grounds is a step too far!

  8. Anneka Ireland-Wolfe says:

    Hi have emailed Jane and Tracey saying:

    I am writing to oppose the recent proposal for a complete ban of dogs in selected parks in Tunbridge Wells. I am disgusted that this has been hidden amongst a survey regarding anti social behaviour and homelessness so it can not be easily accessed by the public.

    I am a local resident to Hawkenbury Recreation Ground and use the facilities at least once a day. I am a responsible dog owner like 99% of other dog walkers in the park and pick up my dogs mess and have my dogs under control. The majority of the people in the park are dog owners, everybody usually stops to chat and we know each other well meaning that during the winter I feel safe walking my dogs around the park in the dark after work as there are familiar faces and there are lights from the football pitch. If a dog ban was enforced I would have no other option but the exercise my dogs in a wooded area which I would feel extremely unsafe doing especially after the regular sightings of a man wearing a pink tutu in the last 12 months in High Woods. Would you feel safe walking around the woods in the pitch black?

    I see many elderly people walking their dogs around Hawkenbury Recreational Ground as it’s very accessible, even people and children without dogs enjoy giving our dogs a stroke, or even throwing a ball for them. The interaction is beneficial to everybody.

    It would be a huge shame to impose a dog ban on Hawkenbury Recreational Ground, along with other nearby parks as you would see an immediate decline in visitors. After all of the effort that the Hawkenbury Village Association puts into improving the park for all ages, this would like a huge kick in the teeth.

    I know that I am amongst a very large number of people who disagree with the opposed dog ban and would be very grateful if this could be re-considered.

  9. Spencer Nash says:

    I also believe this is a completely unnecessary proposal and the council have not spoken to the park users in Hawkenbury. I’ve also sent an email to Jane and Tracy.

  10. Nicola Leonard-Cook says:

    I don’t have a dog myself but have absolutely no objection to dogs being walked on Hawkenbury Rec. The owners I have met have always been very friendly and dogs well behaved. Banning dogs is not a feasible solution to ‘anti social behaviour’ owners just need to clean up after their dogs, which around Hawkenbury they tend to. Who has decided that dog walking is anti social?!

  11. Lynn Martin says:

    I no longer have a dog but i agree that this is a crazy and unnecessary action apart from in children’s play areas. . I used to walk my dog in Hawkenbury Rec and feel sure that by far the majority of dog owners are responsible and do not need policing!!

  12. Fred Finan says:

    This seems to be a disproportionate and completely unnecessary. If there is any problem at all I am sure it is very small and limited to specific areas, so why penalise the whole community. I can only assume the Department within the council responsible is creating work and a process that is totally unnecessary. There are far greater priorities I would want them to spend their time on, Maybe its time to review the work of the unit, its impact effectiveness and cost to the Taxpayer. They seem to be scraping the barrel looking for problems that do not exist”

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