Will dog walking area address problems at Harleston Recreation Ground?

Harleston's Recreation Ground ANL-150222-120957005
Harleston's Recreation Ground ANL-150222-120957005

Disgruntled individuals and groups in Harleston say they are worried a dedicated dog zone at the Recreation Ground will not alleviate the area’s persistent problems and will only hinder people wanting to use the space.

An estimated £3,000 to install a fenced-off dog walking area at the Wilderness Lane-based ground, which is a public green used by Harleston Football Club and other sports teams, was approved at a meeting of Harleston Town Council’s Recreation Committee last Wednesday.

The new area is set to be the latest attempt to address issues with dogs running loose and dog fouling at the ground, following the re-introduction of stricter by-laws on dog walking last May.

Margot Harbour, town clerk, said: “It’s not been a snap decision. This has been considered very carefully.

“It’s been a difficult decision, and inevitably, some people will not be happy. But the committee looked at various locations and they chose the most appropriate area that would have the least impact on the ground and the people who live nearby.”

But Simon Marjoram, a local businessman and PTA treasurer for Archbishop Sancroft High School, claims dog owners will ignore the rules without more enforcement measures and states the dog walking area will create a “ridiculous” amount of fencing.

Mr Marjoram, who uses the ground for running and to train a local youth football team, told the Diss Express: “I think the dog walking area is genuinely a complete waste of money. The council wants to spend thousands of pounds of taxpayer money on something people don’t really want.

“The problem is not restricted to the Rec. This will not stop people from letting their dogs run around making a mess. Dog fouling is something that needs to be policed and enforced.

“It will be another part of the Rec that I can’t use. We probably won’t be able to train there.”

Harleston Town FC stated on social media it had been unsuccessful in its plea to have a dog warden brought to the area.

In a series of posts made on the club’s Twitter account, it stated: “The dog area to me isn’t necessary as there are plenty of places to walk dogs without leads in the town.”

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