Owzat for dog owners as Woodhall cricket club says ‘carry on’

Dog owners in Woodhall Spa who believe they get a ‘ruff’ deal have been handed a temporary reprieve - by the village cricket club.

The club is one of the most successful in the East Midlands and had initially asked parish councillors to support a bid to ban dogs being exercised on its award winning outfield amid fears about health and safety.

There was a backlash from worried dog owners who complained the cricket club’s ground is one of the few remaining open places in Woodhall where they can exercise their animals.

Parish councillor Spencer Phelan is one of the concerned dog owners and strongly opposed the cricket club’s proposals.

Speaking at a parish council meeting last Tuesday, Coun Phelan revealed that following a meeting with the cricket club, dog owners had been told they could continue to exercise their animals at the Jubilee Park site until September when a longer-term solution would be discussed.

Coun Phelan said the meeting with the cricket club had been ‘very lively’ but thanked its officials for their support.

However, he stressed it was only a temporary agreement and said dog owners remained sceptical about what would happen after the trial period ended.

He said many dog owners had used the cricket field and surrounding area for many years. He added there were claims the land had been given to the village for ‘community use.’

However, parish council chairman David Clarke said the cricket club effectively owned the land and pointed out they had a long-term lease with the parish council.

Coun Phelan asked if the parish council would consider drawing up a list of other suitable sites where dog owners could exercise their animals.

He was told a number of open spaces were listed in Woodhall’s Neighbourhood Development Plan.

However, Coun Clarke said it would be ‘irresponsible’ if the parish council recommended if any open spaces were suitable for dogs - without anyone first checking with landowners.

Coun Clarke questioned whether the entire issue was even a matter for the parish council, while Coun Rich Sanderson said he was ‘pretty sure’ dog owners were aware of other sites.

However, Coun Phelan stressed it was an important issue which concerned many residents.

He said “There are a lot of elderly and disabled people who can’t get to other sites. My own view is that we (the parish council) should draw up a list .”

Questioned by Coun Sanderson, Coun Phelan admitted he had not read the Neighbourhood Development Plan so was not aware of other sites.

Coun Clarke offered to provide Coun Phelan with a list but stressed he would be doing so as an individual and not as a councillor.