THE RULES around leashing dogs in John Coles Park will not change, it was decided.

At the latest meeting of the Amenities, Culture and Leisure committee, Chippenham Town Council voted to keep the current dog rules in John Coles Park.

This follows public consultation over the issue, which first came to boil after the ACL last year ruled that pets must be leashed in the park.

The ruling was eventually overturned in October following public outcry, and it was agreed that the town council would ask the public for their views on the matter.

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According to the consultation 63 per cent surveyed said they would like to keep the current rules around dogs on leads.

Wiltshire Times: Screenshot from the Amenities, Culture and Leisure committee meeting on September 8, 2021Screenshot from the Amenities, Culture and Leisure committee meeting on September 8, 2021

Around eight per cent of people said they would like to see dogs entirely banned from the park.

Tracey Firth, who launched a petition signed by hundred to get the town council to reserve its decision, said: “Comments made on the paper version [of the consultation] suggest that further, clearer and larger signage at the boundaries of the on/off lead zones will reduce confusion to where dogs can be allowed off leads.

“We have seen other councils publish signs that summarise responsible dog ownership in open areas such as parks and beaches, and think that the town council dog policy would be an excellent starting point if Chippenham Town Council believes this is a useful idea.”

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Ms Firth also suggested a reporting system for any significant incidents so that discussions on such matters could be “more evidence based”.

During the discussion, cllr Desna Allen said that the signage should be looked into and that the dogs on leads rule should remain as the status quo.

Another said that he was not sure why this was up for discussion, adding “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

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They added: “It would be a great shame to change the policy.

“I think the signage to keep dogs on-lead at the bottom end of the park is few and far between. If you go into the park from the bottom or top end it's not that clear when you have to keep the dogs on the lead.

“If we could look into that, it would be great.”

Cllr Allen’s proposal to keep the rules in the park as they are was seconded by cllr Jenny Budgell.

At the vote councillors unanimously voted to keep the current on/off leash rules moving forward.