As has been widely reported, the petition for Withdean Park “puppy park” has gathered significant momentum. A fenced area in the park (originally to protect the lilac collection) has become a popular destination for dog lovers and their families from all over the City and beyond. The area is even promoted by the Council as one of the benefits of the park.
Councillors Lee Wares and Geoffrey and Carol Theobald have been working with the campaigners behind the scenes and have now brokered a stay of execution of the puppy park.
Cllr Lee Wares said “This is not a movement to try and force the Council to maintain the fence at the expense of the taxpayer. The campaigners are ready to put their money where their mouths are, raise additional funds and put in the time and effort to maintain the fence”.
“We are delighted that the Council have agreed to postpone the removal of the fence so that residents can explore with them how they could take on responsibility of the fence and look after it for the benefit of everybody”.
Cllr Lee Wares added “This is just the sort of initiative the Council should embrace. When residents offer to fund projects and put in the hours to maintain the public realm, the Council should support them. Of course there is the devil in the detail to be worked out and we are pleased the Council had little hesitation in agreeing to the concept and begin working with residents to make it happen. Whilst the long-term arrangement is being explored, the Council have also agreed to discuss working with residents to carry out minor but urgent repairs”.
Cllr Geoffrey Theobald commented “Giving greater control and responsibility to residents to have a say in how their parks and open spaces should be cared for is something we strongly support. It is this level of passion and determination by residents that needs to be encouraged. And it is all the more reason that our Rangers should be retained to help residents, who willingly give up their free time, to make our City better”.