Posted: Tue 17th Oct 2023

Dogs to be banned from Mold Memorial Gardens despite public opposition

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Oct 17th, 2023

Dogs will be banned from the memorial gardens in Mold despite a campaign and petition against the move.

Flintshire Council’s cabinet has decided to add the gardens, and the Rosie Pool in Wepre Park, to the locations covered by the county’s public spaces protection order (PSPO).

PSPOs were one of a number of tools and powers given to councils and their partners in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act.

A fixed penalty notice of £75 can be handed to anyone officers believe to be guilty of an offence, which would be required to be paid within 14 days.

The consultation on adding the area by the lake in Wepre Park and the memorial gardens in Mold took place over the summer.

Flintshire’s current PSPO covers enforcement against dog fouling which is the responsibility of the council’s Streetscene team.

It also covers enforcement against drinking alcohol within town centres which is the responsibility of the police.

But since the consultation period elapsed, dog walkers who visit the Maes Bodlonfa gardens in Mold started up a petition against the proposed ban.

This has been signed by hundreds of people online and in-person, gaining close to the number of signatures of people who took part in the council’s consultation.

Introducing a report to councillors, cabinet member for planning and public protection, Mold East Cllr Chris Bithell (Lab) said: “Members will recall in certain areas of the county people were congregating for much of the day drinking heavily and becoming a nuisance, being a nuisance and driving away others from those particular locations which also caused a problem for traders in those areas.”

The consultation took place for six weeks between June 5 and July 14. In total 881 responses were received and there was strong support for renewal of the PSPO’s and the additions, 75 per cent agreeing with the Rosie Pool ban and 61 per cent agreeing with the exclusion of dogs from Mold memorial gardens.

Cllr Bithell added: “There has been a reaction to the consultation from a particular sector of the dog community in regards the Mold memorial gardens and a petition has been received.”

Addressing the petition Andrew Farrow, the chief officer for planning and environment, said that while the authority had acknowledged it, strict processes meant it could not be considered and the recommendation was to enforce the ban.

“There has been a change in circumstance since this report was considered by environment scrutiny in September – that is the receipt of the petition to stop the total ban of dogs from the Mold garden”, Mr Farrow said.

“The online petition is up to 631 signatures and we’ve also had handed in yesterday a submission of 190 names and phone numbers of people who have signed a physical petition to prevent the ban of dogs in the area of Mold we’ve identified.

“It’s important to note that we’re receiving these responses way outside the consultation period. The PSPO consultation process is quite defined, and we undertook a six-week consultation process in June and July of this year.

“We’re in excess of 60 per cent (in favour) of banning dogs from the memorial garden in Mold.

“There’s been some criticism of the definition of which area we’re talking about, but when we went out and did the consultation the plans were online and on-site as well – so I can’t support the accusation that there was a misunderstanding about which areas we were talking about.”

Mr Farrow said that the earlier months of the updated PSPO would be about educating the public before enforcement took place and notices served to people not complying.

He added: “From our perspective I think we’ve undertaken a thorough consultation process that set out it wasn’t just reliant on the website, there were notices out there, we had direct contact with town councils and other interested parties as well.

“That has resulted in the response rate we’ve got.

“Whilst I acknowledge the receipt of the petitions and sight of the 631 signatures on the online petition, my position on that is that they are outside the consultation process.

“It was clear what we were going to be doing in respect of extending the dog control areas and we’ve followed due process there.”

The cabinet followed the recommendations and voted to implement the updated PSPO, which includes banning dogs from the Rosie Pool and Mold’s memorial gardens.

By Rory Sheehan – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).

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