As part of OnTheWight’s digging into the proposed new Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) the goal has been simple.
Simple goal: Helping the public understand
That very simple goal is – Now the cat is out of the bag about the potential changes of where and how the public can walk their dogs on the Island, let’s try and cut through the confusion and help everyone understand what the change might be.
What is changing with the proposed new rules about dogs on leads in certain parks, dogs being banned from playgrounds and cemeteries?
The simplest way of trying to understand this is, 1) what are the restrictions now, 2) what are the range of proposed restrictions, and 3) what are the differences?
Public concerns about ‘Dogs on Leads’
In an exchange with the council, OnTheWight tried to get some answers yesterday evening on the ‘Dogs on Leads’ proposal (which is causing a lot of public angst).
The IWC document that OnTheWight published yesterday showed a list of 37 areas across the Island that might become restricted – Places the public won’t be able to let their dogs run free and exercise.
The obvious questions were, what are the differences between now and the proposal and the following very simple request:
I’ve just had a quick look and can see (current) the ‘Dogs On Leads Order’
document, but can’t find which areas this applies to. Any pointers as to where to find the areas they apply to?
(We’ve since found that the current order applies to (i) Each and every length of road including adjacent pavements and verges, within the administrative area of the Isle of Wight Council – so with the council not co-operating, all we can conclude is that those 37 areas are new)
IWC: We won’t tell you yet
What we received wasn’t any useful answers, but a statement from the Isle of Wight council’s press office – which took nearly six hours to prepare – effectively saying, ‘No, we’re not going to tell you yet’.
Here it is in full – an Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said,
“The delegated decision to consult on Public Spaces Protection Orders cannot be taken until after Thursday. If agreed council officers will then arrange for the consultation to be launched within the following weeks.
“PSPOs are required to be introduced to replace the Dog orders which are no longer enforceable following a change in the law. Extensive consultation has taken place in respect of these orders with town and parish councils, local members, landowners and other key stakeholders. The revised measures being suggested have resulted from complaints from members of the public, for example dogs in cemeteries.
“The information forming part of the consultation will contain full details of the orders, including any new ones (cemeteries and young children’s play areas) and highlight any differences with existing orders. This will ensure all the appropriate information is released in full, to everyone, at one time, with details on how the consultation can be accessed and responded to. This will ensure all stakeholders have access to the same information, at the same time. There are no plans to make any amendments to proposed orders until after the consultation period when full consideration of any results can be made.”
- The PSPO story is out there already (of course it is, it was in the Delegated Decisions list that IWC publish)
- The public are confused and the media are asking for clarification to help the public understand
- Most, if not all of the information is out there already, scattered around in the various appendices
- IWC say they’ve been speaking to groups of people in ‘extensive consultations’, so they all know about it
- IWC now have a chance to provide some simple clarity – to point out what’s different – but they refuse to do it now, thus extending the confusion of the public.
Final decision in New Year after Consultation
If the Delegated Decision to go ahead with the consultation is agreed, there will be a chance for residents to contribute, including via the council’s Website.
Cllr Tig Outlaw said,
“During the consultation, we will make it very clear what dog control orders are proposed (new public spaces protection orders) and where. We shall explain why and how they differ from Dog Control Orders already in force.
“The period of consultation will last for at least six weeks as stated in the report. All results from the consultation will go back to members before any final decision in the new year.”