Council considers banning dogs from all area’s play parks

A view of the new Play Park in Solitude �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1628-208EB
A view of the new Play Park in Solitude �Edward Byrne Photography INBL1628-208EB

The public is to be consulted on plans to ban dogs from play parks across the Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon Council area.

Proposals are in the pipeline to prohibit dogs from all 94 play parks in the new council area. They are already banned from Solitude play area.

There will be a consultation process with the public in January, with the proposals compiled in February and a report brought to the relevant committee in March.

The Head of Environmental Health clarified that the exclusion of dogs was specifically in relation to children’s play parks and not the wider park area where some play parks were located.

However it was noted that either because of legacy bylaws or through custom, dogs were already excluded from children’s play parks across the Borough.

Ulster Unionist Cllr Arnold Hatch welcomed the move however he pointed out that dogs would not be excluded from public park areas.

Banbridge Ulster Unionist Cllr Ian Burns asked how they plan to enforce the exclusion of dogs from play parks.

He also referred to Scarva Park which he said would present difficulties as the public footpath ran straight through the play area.

Council said there would be significant publicity, signage and patrols by Wardens in these areas.

It was stated that enforcement would also depend on complaints received from members of the public.

However, difficulties that existed in relation to the enforcement aspects of Dog Control Orders were acknowledged.

SF Cllr Liam Mackle was told that assistance and guide dogs would be except from any new rules. Party colleague Cllr Maire Cairns urged that there would be a need to robustly police the issue. Plus she called for more publicity around the fines and more signage.

The head of Environmental Health said plans were afoot to look at signage and promoting the idea that it was simply not socially acceptable to allow your dog to foul and not pick it up.