A plan to combat nuisance from loose dogs in Lydiard Park, which will require owners to keep their pets on a lead in a quarter of the grounds during the summer months, is open for public consultation until 10 July.
The Council is considering introducing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to ensure dogs are kept on leads in the area outside Lydiard House, the barbecue area, and the sports and events field between 1 April and the end of September, from 10am in the morning until 6pm in the evening. There is also an additional proposed exclusion area for dogs, except assistance dogs, in the small Walled Garden and Rick Yard.
The rest of the park would be unaffected by the PSPO. The consultation on the plan started on Tuesday 10 May and will run for eight weeks. Information on the consultation can be found at www.swindon.gov.uk/lydiardpspo
The PSPO is being proposed because the mix of loose and boisterous dogs and families – often with young children – in popular areas of the park has led to regular incidents which have spoiled the enjoyment of the park for some visitors. Typical incidents include dogs attacking other dogs, knocking over children, and stealing food from picnics.
The PSPO would be enforced by licensed council staff, the police and police community support officers using Fixed Penalty Notices. The fine would be £100, reduced to £75 for early payment. Clear signage would be put up to alert visitors to the restrictions and times of operation.
Cllr Garry Perkins, Swindon Borough Council cabinet member for the Economy, Regeneration and Skills, said: “Our proposal is not about a problem we have with dangerous animals or irresponsible owners, but about making sure boisterous and excitable dogs don’t spoil the enjoyment of the park for families and other groups enjoying barbeques, picnics, or playing sports. Similar restrictions are often applied to beaches for the same reasons.
“The vast majority of the park will still be able to be used by dog owners exactly as now, and the area we propose to restrict to dogs on leads will only be for limited times of the day and for half of the year. We are really keen to know the views of park users and I urge them to take part in the consultation.”
The Council will also be consulting with specific groups, such as the Friends of Lydiard Park and the Dogs Trust.