A local resident who exercises his dog on the cricket field at Baileys Court says the Town Council is putting out contradictory signals about whether dogs are allowed at the site.
The claim comes after a new ‘No Dogs’ sign was erected on the main gates into the site, despite Council staff having told people for years that “responsible” dog owners are welcome.
The confusion is compounded by the fact that there are still various signs asking owners to clear up after their dogs and numerous waste bins still in position around the playing field.
Tom Adkins, who regularly walks his Labrador at Baileys Court, told The Journal:
“I understand what the authority is trying to achieve but the signage is wrong. If responsible dog owners are welcome, this is what the sign should say – along with a warning that failure to comply will result in you being asked to leave. As it is, owners do not know where they stand and are open to abuse from persons who are anti-dog, like I gather some have received from cricket club members.”
“Having a banning sign and then providing dog waste facilities is simply contradictory and no help to anyone. If anything, responsible owners are now likely to avoid the field for fear of rule breaking, so all the Council will have achieved is to alienate the type of dog owners that they have said are welcome.”
According to Mr Adkins, Council workers at the site say they have received several complaints about the new signage from confused dog owners.
When The Journal asked for an official statement from Bradley Stoke Town Council, we were told that there has been a ‘No Dogs’ sign on the gate at Baileys Court for at least ten years. The former green signs have been replaced with new white ones that show the Council’s new telephone number, this having changed following the recent move to the Jubilee Centre. All other wording regarding dogs, ball games and hirer vehicles has not been changed, insists the Council.
The Council’s statement continues:
“Although the sign does read ‘No Dogs’, the Council policy is not to ban dogs, but the sign helps site staff when approaching irresponsible dog walkers who allow their dogs to foul the sports fields. Baileys Court in particular is a favourite site for local dog walkers and its great to see people using the fields during all weathers, however a small minority of irresponsible dog walkers frequent the site and the sign is used by site staff when confronting these individuals.”
“The football and cricket managers have long standing issues with dog mess on the pitches; site staff are forced to pick up dog mess regularly before matches are played.”
“The town council works closely with the South Gloucestershire Council dog warden and the “no dogs” policy has not been any different within the last ten years.”
“The Town Council office has not received any complaints from dog owners wishing to exercise their dogs at Baileys Court Activity Centre; however we have received several phone calls from dog walkers querying the erection of the new signs. When we passed on the information detailed above, the enquirer has accepted this.”
Mr Adkins says he and other dog walkers were not aware of a previous sign, adding that if it was was there, it was certainly “not prominent like the new one”.
He also claims it is likely that not all faeces found on the grass are from dogs:
“We have a lot of urban foxes around here who I know regularly foul the area!”
Mr Adkins told The Journal that he had been made aware of the new sign by a Town Councillor who is a regular dog walker at the site. Cllr Roger Avenin has told Mr Adkins that he plans to challenge the new signage at the next Town Council meeting and has been asking others to join him in support.
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