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Chelmsford council wants to introduce dog controls to parts of Hylands Park

Chelmsford City Council is set to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) restricting the number of dogs that can be walked by an individual on the Hylands Estate to four.

The order is also set to include where dogs are allowed, including areas of Hylands Park, and where they are allowed off the lead. Failure to comply with the prohibitions and requirements imposed by the PSPO could lead to a £1,000 fine.

The proposals follow an increase in incidents of dangerously out-of-control dogs reported to the council.

While the majority of Hylands Park will remain available for dogs to run off the lead, ‘on the lead’ zones are set to be designated where large numbers of visitors merge. These include the estate’s car parks, including the Writtle Road entrance to Hylands Park, the green space immediately next to the adventure playground leading up to The Stables and Hylands House, the estate’s formal gardens, and the immediate area surrounding the Serpentine Lake.

The council plans a small number of spaces where dogs would not be permitted at all. Dogs are already not permitted at the adventure playground, Hylands House, the Grand Pavilion and The Stables courtyard and fenced-off grazing areas for horses and cows and the order would formalise this.

Paul Brookes, Public Health and Protection Services Manager, said: “In reality, these plans shouldn’t make much difference to the way that responsible dog walkers use Hylands. Public Spaces Protection Orders are intended to make public spaces more welcoming to the majority of law-abiding people.

“The proposed PSPO will allow people who are nervous around dogs and dog walkers who wish to keep their dog on the lead to enjoy the park without fear. The PSPO would also allow dog walkers plenty of space to walk their dog off the lead if they prefer.”

Councillor Rose Moore, Chelmsford City Council’s Cabinet Member for Greener and Safer Chelmsford, added: “Dog walkers who come to our beautiful park week in, week out, see all of the changes that happen throughout the year and feel an understandable connection with the estate.

“But Hylands isn’t only a place to walk our dogs. It’s a space for children to find joy in creative play and connect with nature, a park for get-togethers and picnics, a venue for a wide range of inspiring outdoor events, and a working estate with heavy horses and cattle. Fortunately, attacks by out-of-control dogs are not a common occurrence at Hylands, but they do happen, and reports of such incidents are increasing. Everyone should be able to enjoy the estate without fear and we must weigh up the needs of all visitors. We will consider these proposals carefully, with balance in mind.”

The PSPO is set to go to consultation after a Chelmsford cabinet meeting on 6 July.

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