Stumbling block for new four dogs rule

The scrutiny committee (top) and last week's protest outside council offices in Leyland.
The scrutiny committee (top) and last week's protest outside council offices in Leyland.

A unanimous vote was taken on Monday night urging South Ribble to ‘reconsider’ its dog walking limit.

Meeting at the Wellington Park Hotel in Leyland, the scrutiny committee and members of the public met to discuss the controversial limit imposed two weeks ago.

South Ribble Council's cabinet voted to ban people from walking more than four dogs per person on its parks at its last cabinet meeting.

South Ribble Council's cabinet voted to ban people from walking more than four dogs per person on its parks at its last cabinet meeting.

READ MORE: Dogs out in force as pressure to reverse walking limit increases

Committee chairman Matthew Tomlinson believed that the decision to limit the number of dogs to four was not done properly and asked the cabinet to reconsider.

Coun Tomlinson said: “I thought it was a really constructive scrutiny meeting.

“We had a packed public gallery of about 50 or so members of the public there. I’d like to thank those that came and the way the meeting was conducted.”

Dog walkers and dog owners protest against the council's decision to limit the number of dogs walked at any one time to four, outside South Ribble Council, Leyland.

Dog walkers and dog owners protest against the council's decision to limit the number of dogs walked at any one time to four, outside South Ribble Council, Leyland.

Coun Tomlinson added: “What we need to do now is wait for the cabinet’s response to the recommendations we put forward.”

At the two hour long meeting, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and streetscene, Coun Graham Walton, gave evidence regarding the decision and how it was taken.

South Ribble Council’s legal services manager, David Whelan, and the council’s Director of Environment, Mark Gaffney, also spoke before the committee.

Coun Walton said: “I’d like to thank the scrutiny committee for their recommendations, and also thank the public for attending last night’s meeting and sharing their views on the matter. We will take the recommendations and learning points on board and welcome the chance to take this decision back to Cabinet for further discussion and debate.”

Members of the committee also presented the cabinet with a number of learning points, including more robust consultation; seeking officer and director advice before tabling recommendations at meetings; and having a stronger evidence-base for decision-making, including providing rationale for any changes to recommendations.

Coun Claire Hamilton, who is behind the petition against the restriction and organised last weeks protest outside council offices in Leyland, said: “I was delighted with the outcome, it’s been a real team effort.

“The people who have come forward have all worked together despite having different interests.”

Coun Hamilton added: “When it comes to the Cabinet meeting in December we hope the decision is overturned.

“The group are prepared to take legal action against this decision if it remains, which would cost the taxpayers of South Ribble if the Cabinet don’t back down.”

The next Cabinet meeting in on Wednesday, December 6, at 5pm at the Civic Centre on West Paddock, Leyland.