A GROUP of dog walkers have called for a judicial review over a decision to ban them from a park in Flintshire.

Flintshire Council’s cabinet has decided to add the memorial gardens in Mold to the locations covered by the county’s public spaces protection order (PSPO).

PSPOs were one of a number of tools and powers given to councils and their partners in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act.

A fixed penalty notice of £75 can be handed to anyone officers believe to be guilty of an offence, which would be required to be paid within 14 days. 

The consultation on adding the memorial gardens in Mold took place over the summer - with the ban on dogs coming into effect this week.

Flintshire’s current PSPO covers enforcement against dog fouling which is the responsibility of the council’s Streetscene team. It also covers enforcement against drinking alcohol within town centres which is the responsibility of the police.

The consultation took place for six weeks between June 5 and July 14. In total 881 responses were received and there was strong support for renewal of the PSPO’s and the additions, with 61 per cent agreeing with the exclusion of dogs from Mold memorial gardens.

But since the consultation period elapsed, dog walkers who visit the Maes Bodlonfa gardens in Mold started up a petition against the proposed ban. This has been signed by hundreds of people online and in-person. 

And now, dog walkers are calling for a judicial review into the decision to add the park to the locations covered by a PSPO.

Nanette Davies, who is fronting the campaign against the decision, said: "We were very happy with the status quo. We saw no reason why we should be banned.

"We are law abiding citizens in our latter years who just want to take our dogs to a familiar and well loved park. We enjoy the company of young families with mutual love for their furry friends and co exist with dog lovers and non dog lovers alike.

"We feel like we've been victimised. We have sought legal advice and we are requesting that a judicial review be made into the decision."


A letter seen by The Leader sent to Delyn Senedd Member, Hannah Blythyn, by Flintshire Council's chief planning officer, Andrew Farrow, states that complaints had been received regarding "daily occurrences" of "unruly dog behaviour" in the park. 

Mr Farrow said: "There are numerous complaints by families of their children being terrified of large roaming dogs, the planted areas of shrubs and flowers being destroyed by dogs running havoc, owners allowing their dogs to roam all over the garden and not knowing or caring where they do their business and the park gardeners being left to deal with it, usually in the flower beds."

Mrs Davies said: "This is utter nonsense. We as a group police other dog walkers. The dog fouling bin outside the park is always full up as everyone picks up their and other people's dog dirt. 

"The regular responsible dog walking community and visitors to the park include many home workers, disabled or poorly adults and children, older people, young people after school hours and people who work locally and bring their dog to work. The group provides an informal supportive caring role to many local residents who would otherwise be socially isolated and even at risk as the dog walk is their only daily social contact."

She added that the dog walking group plays a "key part" in monitoring and preventing continuous antisocial behaviour, graffiti, vandalism and substance misuse in the area around the park.

"The dog walking community often removes drug use paraphernalia, alcohol bottles, condoms, broken glass and discarded food from the park area," Mrs Davies said. 

Another dog walker, Cathy Carr, said she has been coming to the park to walk her dog for the past 75 years. 

"Myself others love coming here because not only is it so convenient as we live around the corner," she said, "but it's also got benches which we need as many of us our elderly and disabled.

"The grassy area next to the park is, especially in the winter months, totally unsafe and impractical. The grass is so wet and muddy, it's like a bog. Coming here to walk our dogs is one of the highlights of our days as we've made really good friendships. We're all absolutely gutted about what's happened."

Mrs Davies added: "We're not even sure where the name 'memorial park' has come from. To us, it's always been the ornamental garden or flower garden. It seems to us that the name has been changed as calling it a memorial garden sounds like it's unsuitable for dogs."

Andrew Farrow, chief officer for Planning, Environment and Economy, said: “The County Council considers that the decision to renew and extend the PSPOs was a lawful one and followed a six-week consultation period where all members of the public were invited to have their say on the proposals.

"More than 880 responses were received and taken into account by cabinet, and there was strong support for the renewal of the PSPOs and the additions.”