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Dog owners fight Hylands Park ban
1:46pm Wednesday 20th March 2013 in News
DOG owners want a ban of their pooches placed over part of Hylands Park to be lifted immediately.
Chelmsford Council introduced a regulation which prevents dogs entering the Stable Yard Cafe area in the park with a new dog friendly area set up away from the cafe.
However, this move has outraged visitors to the site which is popular for dog walkers, pointing at the lack of consultation over the change and having no toilet facilities in the new dog zone.
A campaign has started with a petition being set up calling for the council to overturn the ban.
Karen Chilvers, a Lib Dem councillor in Brentwood, is spearheading the campaign after being shocked to learn of the ban while walking her dog.
She said: “The biggest disappointment is that this cafe was a brilliant place to come with your dog and whoever made this decision hasn’t thought it through.
“There should have been a consultation. This is a park where people like to come and walk their dogs, but now, if you want to have a cup of tea or use the toilet, you’re told to tie your dog up outside.
“I don’t want to do this at a time when dog-nappings are at a high level and I won’t come back here until they lift the ban.”
Dog walkers who regularly use the park have also stated they will not return until the ban is lifted.
Joanne Prescott, from Great Baddow, who walks her labrador, said: “We make a point of coming here because we can sit with our dogs at the cafe.
“There are other parks closer to where I live so I’ll probably go to them now rather than here, so what this is doing is pushing people away.”
Nicolette Chambers, councillor responsible for parks and heritage, said the regulation had actually been made in 2007, but only enforced recently. She added although it is early days for the dog friendly area, she believes it will be a popular place for dog walkers.
She said: “I was there on Sunday and there were people there with dogs who seemed quite happy with the facilities.
“Dogs don’t buy coffee and tea and I think this new area will attract new people to the Huttons Cafe and Hylands Park.
“The bottom line is we have a duty of care to people who visit Hylands Park and we have to make sure they are safe.
“I am not suggesting for one minute there are irresponsible dog owners who use the area, but we have provide care for everyone.”