Posted by: John Brace | 9th January 2019

Councillors to discuss proposed Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order after over 30,000 people sign petitions opposing it!

Councillors to discuss proposed Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order after over 30,000 people sign petitions opposing it!

                                   

Cllr Anita Leech (Cabinet Member for the Environment) Wirral Council

Cllr Anita Leech (Cabinet Member for the Environment) Wirral Council

Wirral Council’s cross-party Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee meet next Tuesday evening for a special public meeting to discuss the recent consultation responses on a proposed Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order.

Two large petitions (the first attracting 15,033 signatures) and an online petition which at the time of writing has 15,415 signatures are opposed to the changes.

Due to the size of the first petition, the petitioners had a chance to address the public meeting of councillors held on the 15th October 2018. At that stage each political group of councillors had a different response to the petition. Video of the petitioners explaining their petition and the the responses from councillors can be viewed below.

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Council (Wirral Council) 15th October 2018 Part 1 of 6 – Petitions (4b) Petitions against Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order

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Council (Wirral Council) 15th October 2018 Part 2 of 6 – Petitions (4b) Petitions against Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order

Each political group on Wirral Council in October 2018 had a different response to the proposed Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order.

In summary, the Liberal Democrat councillors wanted Wirral Council to as an alternative work with local groups to reduce dog fouling and were against the proposed PSPO going ahead due to practical problems, the Conservative councillors agreed with the withdrawal of the parts of the proposal about the beaches but asked for the remaining proposals to be withdrawn (with the caveat that their view was that the proposals for cemeteries and childrens’ play areas were sensible) and finally the Labour councillors wanted to thank the petitioners, note the petition and resolved to have a report to Cabinet in November 2018.

On a vote of councillors of 36 votes to 26 votes, the Labour position was agreed. However (as happens with many decisions) made by councillors on Wirral Council the report to Cabinet in November 2018 never happened.

Between the consultation starting and this point, the Cabinet Member for the Environment (the councillor who has direct democratic accountability to the public on this issue) Cllr Matthew Patrick resigned. Cllr Anita Leech became the new Cabinet Member for the Environment.

At a public meeting last year she made a commitment to offer to meet with the two groups behind the petitions.

She also apologised (in response to a question from a councillor which can be watched below) for giving out incorrect information which was then repeated by Cllr Phil Davies in relation to the rationale behind the proposed Dog Space Public Protection Order (the question to her and her response can be viewed below).

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Council (Wirral Council) 10th December 2018 Part 2 of 7 – Question to Cllr Anita Leech about dog fouling

If the Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order goes ahead, Wirral Council have estimated it to cost £50,000 (for example the cost of signage).

Last year Liverpool City Council for “unethical behaviour” decided to end their arrangement regarding enforcement with private company (Kingdom Services Group Ltd) and bring enforcement back in house.

If the Dog Control Public Spaces Protection Order is agreed it is highly likely that Kingdom Services Group Limited will carry out enforcement and before the nature of the Order has been agreed by councillors it has been raised that Kingdom Services Group Ltd have already issued a FPN for not having a dog on a lead in December 2018. At a recent public meeting last year outgoing Conservative Councillor Gerry Ellis raised concerns about the possibility of Wirral heading towards a “police state”.

Reports on the consultation responses and the current proposals can be viewed on Wirral Council’s website.

Wirral Council’s Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee meets on Tuesday 15th January 2019 starting at 6.00 pm in Committee Room 1, Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Seacombe, CH44 8ED. The meeting is expected to be held in public.

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