Petition launched against proposed further restrictions for dogs and their owners at public spaces in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth

Dog owners have launched a petition against proposed further restrictions on taking their animals to public spaces including Newbold Comyn in Leamington and St Mary's Lands in WArwick.

Tuesday, 1st September 2020, 2:58 pm
The campaign poster.

Abbey Fields in Kenilworth is also on the list of green spaces where further restrictions could be imposed by Warwick District Council.

The plans are to keep dogs on leads - or exclude them from certain areas - and have been met with anger by campaigners.

The online petition, started by campaigner Kate Pittel, is on the Change.org website and more than 3,000 people have already signed it.

The petition statement says: "Warwick District Council are proposing more restrictions to the Dog Control Orders in Warwick District.

"One of these is to ban dogs from the old Newbold Comyn golf course, a huge space used and loved by many people. Dog walkers are the largest group of users here and a ban would discriminate against a big section of the community.

"It's a public space that was left to Leamington Town Council for all users but Warwick District Council want to turn it into a commercial venture, in which dogs and their owners play no part.

"A ban will also have a negative impact on the many small local dog walking businesses who operate in the area.

"Under the proposals, WDC want to impose more restrictions at Abbey Fields in Kenilworth, St. Mary's Land (the racecourse) in Warwick and other fields on Newbold Comyn, restricting dogs from certain areas and at certain times of the year.

"We're signing this petition to say 'no' to any further restrictions in our area and to tell the council that we will not have the freedom to walk our dogs curtailed."

Warwick District Council has said it is 'at a very early stage’ of gaining views and opinions on the matter.

It added: “Once these initial ideas have been collated and presented to councillors, if we gain their approval we will then undertake a full public consultation.”

Kate has said that she believes the proposed further restrictions at Newbold Comyn are part of the council's wider 'masterplan' for the currently disused golf course at the green space.

She said: "Banning dogs from the largest green space we have is obviously in preparation for the ‘master plan’ for Newbold Comyn Golf Course.

"The plan includes an extra 200 parking spaces, which will no longer be free of charge, and activities like zip wiring and outdoor climbing.

"The council has told us that ii is currently ‘gaining stakeholder feedback’.

"We’re asking it to look carefully at the signatures and comments on our petition and take into account the feedback of the largest stakeholder group of Newbold Comyn - the dog walkers.

"As of today, the number of people who have signed is around 3,300, which is considerably more than the number of people who responded to the council’s consultation about the future of Newbold Comyn.

"All of us want to continue walking our dogs freely and safely there - and this feedback must inform their decision.

"It’s not good enough for this to go out to public consultation.

"We’re making our feelings known now ahead of any public consultation and we want these proposals thrown out in their entirety.

"In 2011, we fought hard for the freedom to continue walking our dogs in Warwick district and we’ll carry on doing so.

"In 2012, I was part of the Task and Finish Group of the introduction of dog control orders here, as was the current portfolio holder, Judith Falp.

"In the report on ’the Impact of dog control orders’, the officers words were that ‘excluding dogs from specific sites should be restricted to highly sensitive areas which can be clearly defined, such as fenced-off children’s play areas.

"The council needs to understand that banning the largest group of users from walking their dogs on Newbold Comyn and imposing further restrictions elsewhere in the district is simply not acceptable."

The petition can be found by clicking here.