A RULE which would force dog-owners leash their pups in John Coles Park has been rescinded for now.

Chippenham councillors unanimously decided to postpone the ruling to make John Coles Park a dogs on-lead zone at their full council meeting.

This decision will allow the Amenities, Culture and Leisure Committee – which made the initial decision on September 9 – to receive a new report with wider consultation. A final report for which will be discussed at its meeting on March 3, 2021.

Richard Saull, a member of the public, said: "The dog walkers were very pleased the council has found a process to reconsider the decision regarding dogs on leads.”

During the public section of the meeting, Mr Saull suggested areas for the town council to look at for its report including the clarity of park signage, the value of the dog pen and the accessibility of disabled and vulnerable people.

A petition calling on the council to look at the rules now has 900 signatures with 80 per cent of those living close to the park, according to Mr Saull.

Supporting the motion, Cllr Clare Cape said that it was important that the voices of residents were heard.

While Cllr Sandie Webb said the campaign by dog walkers was intelligent and measured and allowed the town council to work toward a solution.

Cllr Melody Thompson agreed residents should be heard but said abuse faced by councillors and officers over social media was unacceptable.

“Some of the abuse that’s been on social media is totally uncalled for. Not only on social media, but also to officers,” Cllr Thompson said.

Cllr Ashley O’Neill said he would be happy to support the motion given the proper consultation was undertaken. Adding that the town council should not make decisions based on ‘the view of the people that make the most noise about any given issue’.

After the vote, Cllr Desna Allen, chairman of the Amenities, Culture and Leisure Committee thanked the council for considering the motion.

"I'd like to say that when I brought this motion I was swayed by the rational arguments we received in emails and letters," said Cllr Allen

"And like Melody Thompson, I was not swayed by the comments on social media which I thought were appalling."