Following pressure from Southport Lib Dem councillors, Sefton Council unexpectedly withdrew a proposal that dogs should be banned from running free in Sefton Council public open spaces on Thursday.
At this week’s meeting of Sefton Council, members were being asked to approve a new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO). This included a new provision which bans dogs from running free on ANY designated Council-owned open space where there is an unfenced playground.
Earlier this week, Ainsdale Lib Dem councillor Lynne Thompson (pictured) had submitted an amendment accepting the rest of the PSPO, but calling for the new provision to be brought back when there is greater clarity as to what it meant in practice.
Birkdale Lib Dem councillor Simon Shaw also asked a question at the Council meeting as to how big the “designated” areas around unfenced playgrounds were planned to be, only to be told that this had not yet assessed.
“I and my fellow Southport Lib Dem councillors are delighted that the Cabinet Member agreed to defer the PSPO for further consideration. We have made it clear all along that we totally agree with the idea of preventing dogs running free close to children playing on a playground,” says Lynne.
“But there is serious public concern that the presence of an unfenced playground within a part of a large public open space could require that dogs have to be kept on a short lead within the whole of the public open space.”
“For example, Ainsdale Village Park, off Liverpool Road and Bradshaws Lane, is a large public open space containing an unfenced playground. There is plenty of space 30 metres or more away from the playground equipment where dogs could run free without bothering anybody.”
Councillor Simon Shaw added: “It is good that the Labour Party have finally seen sense. Bearing in mind that this PSPO involves penalties for failing to comply, it is only right that it’s properly thought through – before agreeing it, rather than afterwards.”