Friends of Readhead Park launch petition for dog exercise area after plans turned down
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Friends of Readhead Park have been working with South Tyneside Council to help improve the green space, and members have been successful with a number of their ideas, including improved security and safety features.
But members have run aground on plans for a dog exercise area within the park, which sits in the Westoe area of South Shields.
The group said members worked with council officers to identify a relatively unused area in which to establish the dog exercise area.
Hopes were to create a fenced-off zone where dogs could run free and remain safe.
Plans for the area included fencing, a gate two picnic tables with wheelchair access, two litter bins and two dog waste bag machines to help owners keep the park clean and tidy.
Council chiefs say they have considered the plans, but deemed them unfeasible.
Now the Friends group has launched a petition urging a rethink, and say they have already had around 500 signatures.
Glenn Thompson, a member of of Friends of Readhead Park and an independent councillor for Westoe, said: “Everything that the friends group does is driven by park users and what they feel is needed to improve our park.
"With the dog exercise area this was no different, we have a very high usage of the park by dog owners and it was asked if somewhere a little more secure could be found for dogs to run free, without danger of running towards the surrounding roads.”
Cllr Thompson said the group and the wider community have raised around £15,000 to fund the facility and the contractors are waiting to start the works.
South Tyneside Council praised the Friends of Redhead Park and said a number of improvements requested had been approved.
But a council spokesperson said the dog exercise area would be harmful to the park and the experience of visitors as a whole.
In a statement, the council spokesperson said: “While the council had already agreed requests for CCTV and additional lighting, unfortunately a proposal for a designated dog exercise area was declined.
"This was due to the scale of the proposed enclosed dog area and the impact this would have on the rest of the park and other users due to the park’s limited open space.
“We are extremely grateful to the Friends of the park volunteers. They do an incredible job supporting the council and helping to maintain the space to such high standards, which has led to the park retaining its coveted Green Flag status for a second year.
“Regrettably, on balance, we were unable to support this latest request in the best interests of all park visitors.
“Any petition received by the Council will be considered through the appropriate channels as per the Council's constitution.”
To sign the petition, visit https://www.change.org/p/readhead-park-westoe-south-shields-secure-dog-exercise-area