Consultation results reveal overwhelming support for tougher controls of dogs by Stanley Park lake

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Stronger powers to control dogs around lakes and ponds in Blackpool’s parks look set to be introduced after residents came out strongly in favour of the move.

Results from a 10-week consultation into a new public space protection order (PSPO) for open spaces and cemeteries in the town showed nearly 83 per cent agreed with dogs having to be on leads near council-owned water features.

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It follows anger in the community after two fatal attacks on swans on Stanley Park Lake, believed to have been by dogs not on leads.

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Stanley Park LakeStanley Park Lake
Stanley Park Lake

Respondents to the consultation also overwhelmingly supported moves to give police and council officers stronger powers to tackle anti-social behaviour – including alcohol-related – in parks and open spaces with nearly 98 per cent in favour.

Blackpool Council’s Environment Scrutiny Committee is being asked to support the proposed PSPO when it meets on Wednesday, November 15.

The proposals include additional powers to deal with the following using one PSPO that covers all areas:

  • Dogs off leads near council-owned water bodies of Blackpool
  • Illegal or unauthorised camping including the use of tents/caravans and other vehicle
  • People causing harassment, alarm, distress or vandalism
  • People causing anti-social behaviour
  • Substance and alcohol misuse
  • Unauthorised vehicles driving within the area

A report to the committee said: “The problem of most concern which was reported by respondents as ‘dogs off-lead’ focussing on the impact to wildlife, the behaviour of irresponsible owners and those dogs approaching other dogs, children and adults.

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“Comments from a significant proportion of respondents have asked for better enforcement including CCTV, more park wardens and better police presence.

“An emerging theme was the concern about scooters/cyclists/motorbikes with primarily their speed being unnerving for some.”

There are already PSPOs in place in Blackpool but the consultation was held so the council could review the current controls.

There were a total of 1,483 responses to the consultation held over the summer.

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As well as concerns over the control of dogs, around two-thirds of respondents said alcohol misuse is a ‘very big’ or ‘fairly big’ problem in Blackpool’s parks and green open spaces.

Concerns were also raised about unruly behaviour in cemeteries in the town, with almost 29 per cent of respondents saying ‘people causing harassment, alarm, distress or vandalism’ is a ‘very big’ or ‘fairly big’ problem in Blackpool’s cemeteries.

More than 30 per cent also said alcohol misuse was an issue in cemeteries.

Organisations which took part in the consultation included Brambles Wildlife Rescue which said there had been “regular dog attacks on swans, ducks etc” at Stanley Park, some of which had been fatal.

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As well as around the lake at Stanley Park, areas where dogs would have to be on leads also include around water at the Devonshire Road Rock Gardens, and the lake at Kincraig Nature Reserve in North Shore.

A response from the Friends of Layton Cemetery said some people felt threatened by drunken people, adding there are regularly “groups of people drinking alcohol, smoking cannabis and littering within Layton Cemetery.”

In its response to the consultation, the Friends of Devonshire Road Rock Gardens said: “As a friend’s group we try to encourage more families to use the park but they are put off by the number of dogs allowed to run loose and leave mess.”

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