Fylde Council Working Group on Public Space Protection Orders

Note: The minutes and other supporting documentation of the meetings of the Working Group have not been published on the Fylde Council website and were obtained via a Freedom of Information Request.


Establishment and Composition

The first reference that can be found relating to the establishment of PSPOs is in the Agenda and Minutes of the Operational Management Committee 8 March 2016. The Agenda to the meeting can be found HERE and the minutes of the meeting HERE.

The following people were appointed members of the Working Group:

We have recently become aware of the long history of Fylde Council's ineptitude in dealing with dog controls thanks to the excellent website Counterbalance - a site that has been observing Council activities for a long time and which is highly recommended. Counterbalance has a long and detailed article about the Dog PSPOs from someone interested in the Council's approach and not even particularly sympathetic to some of our objectives. Read the site's account of the meeting on 15 November 2016 in particular HERE.

General Comments about the Working Group

It is our opinion that the way Fylde Council is handling PSPOs via the Working Group is biased, inept, and lacking in the openness that Fylde Council claims to believe in. Meetings take place behind closed doors with no intention of publishing the minutes. The starting point of Fylde Council seems to have been a decision to implement PSPOs for dog controls then to scratch around and try to find evidence to support them. This is evidenced by the inability of Fylde Council to produce objective evidence relating to any of its proposals. Preference was given by Council Officers to hearsay, anecdotal evidence and extracts apparently taken from Social media websites.

The original set of proposals, which are examined in depth on other pages of this website, was followed up with a biased survey process consisting of loaded questions, and the analysis of the results of the survey as published on the Council website has been produced after discarding inconvenient responses - presumably because responders failed to give "the right answers" to most of the questions and it would have been too embarrassing to admit it. See in particular the minutes and presentation of the meeting held 24 January 2017 below.

Councillors on the Working Group have failed the residents of the Fylde by not challenging or querying the proposals from Council employees. In fact the due diligence that Councillors should perform as part of their responsibilities has been entirely lacking throughout the handling of this matter. We have tried to correct this as far as we can through analysis of information obtained via Freedom of Information requests and publishing it on this website.

Careful perusal of the minutes and presentations from the Working Group will show that it has spent virtually all of its time focused on Fylde Council's obsession with dogs. By the time the Working Group produced its recommendations to the Operational Management Committee meeting on 15 November 2015, the only mention of other types of uses for PSPOs is the final recommendation - which could be interpreted as "We are not interested in this .... someone else can deal with it":

to recommend appropriate officers investigate the use of PSPO to control other ASB issues such as BBQs and public drinking and to make recommendations to the relevant committees (Tourism and Leisure and Public Protection).

There is nothing whatsoever in the recorded minutes and presentations of the Working Group about the potential impact on animal welfare, the daily lives of law-abiding citizens - particularly the elderly and disabled, Fylde businesses depending on visitors, or people whose livelihood is based on dog walking.

The Working Group has completely ignored the sensible advice from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) about how to go about preparing proposals for PSPOs - particularly with respect to consulting those that will be affected or who can offer practical and positive advice and guidance. Prior to action taken by those opposed to the PSPOs, there is no evidence of consultation with the likes of the RSPCA, The Dogs Trust, Local Business representatives, dog walkers, dog trainers, veterinary practitioners, disabled and elderly people. Nobody affected by, or who could positively inform the proposals, were consulted.

The entire approach to dogs and dog owners has been negative despite at least a quarter of the households in The Fylde being dog owners - and the vast majority of these being responsible and honest people. The minutes of meetings and presentations paint a dismal and depressing picture of our area which is totally out of step with reality.

  • Nothing is said about the positive aspects of dog ownership, including health benefits, social benefits for people living on their own or the valuable service dog walkers perform in deterring anti-social behaviour by their presence in parks and the beach areas throughout daylight hours.
  • Nothing about the positive impact of people visiting the area with their dogs and bringing trade to our hard-pressed shops and cafes.
  • Nothing about the positive aspects of professional dog walkers who perform valuable services to those at work and those unable to walk their dogs due to age or disability.

Perhaps one of the saddest things is the total lack of imagination of this Working Group who think that the only way to improve things is to impose restrictions and bans. There are many positive steps that could be taken - and if the Working Group had made an effort to consult people other than Councillors and Council employees they would have received some excellent ideas.

To give just a couple of examples:

Instead of the wholly negative, costly, and apparently ineffective campaign of leafleting people and inviting them to complain about dog mess, why not install more bins - particularly in areas where dogs are exercised such as the stretch of dunes between Fairhaven and the Beach Cafe.

Fylde Council should look at the recommendations of the Green Flag Awards to promote the Kennel Club 'Big Scoop Campaign'. Here is a quote from them:

First impressions are all too important and the site should look inviting. Issues that must be considered are:
  • Good and safe access
  • Welcoming
  • Signage
  • Equal access for all
The site should be freely accessible to the public.

Meetings of the PSPO Working Group

Details and analysis of each meeting of which we are aware follows below with the latest at the top.

Meeting on 24 January 2017

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting can be accessed HERE. Detailed information is in the Powerpoint presentation slides that are shown below with our responses.

According to the minutes those present were:

Councillors: Ben Aitken, Alan Clayton, David Eaves (Chairman), Cheryl Little, Albert Pounder, Vince Settle
Officers: Allan Oldfield, Ian Curtis, Kathy Winstanley, Sarah Wilson, Sharon Wadsworth

Here is a summary of the main things that took place at the meeting based on the minutes. The key impacts on dog owners are highlighted.

Powerpoint Presentation

As this meeting took place behind closed doors like all of the others, we do not know what was said during the presentation of these slides and can only comment on their content alongside the meeting minutes. We can see no evidence of any significant challenges or due diligence from Councillors in the minutes of the meeting and so have added our own observations based on information and documents obtained via Freedom of Information requests and an independent and audited analysis of the data from the SurveyMonkey consultation exercise.

It is clear from our own analysis of the data that most of the PSPOs proposed by the Council recieved only very limited support from responders to the survey - although Fylde Council has published statements that are at odds with the data - overclaiming support in all but one proposal. This will be explained in detail in our responses to the individual slides.


Our Response to Slides 1 and 2: The first two slides just restate the background and what had been done to date.
Presentation Presentation

Our Response to Slides 3 and 4:
  • Much of the prompting for input from external involvement came from Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group and the publicity we have generated rather than being down to efforts made by the Council which were minimal and at the last minute according to the responses we have had to Freeedom of Information requests.
  • Based on the content of Slide 3, it appears that Fylde Council Legal Department have not fully understood how biased the wording and structure of the survery was or didn't look at it very closely.
  • We fail to understand how so many people could have been involved in the survey design but failed to see how badly written it was or challenge the way the questions were put. If there were challenges, these should have been minuted and were not.
Presentation Presentation Presentation

Our Response to Slide 6:
  • Many of these requests were made by members of Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group to get information out into the open. If Fylde Council were to put its money where its mouth is regarding being 'Open', the minutes of the PSPO Working Group would have published on its website which would have saved many of the FOI requests.
  • The claimed response time does not tally with our experience unless this just means "how long to issue an acknowledgement". Whilst we agree that most responses resulted in meaningful responses within the 20-day legal requirement, about half of the FOIs we have raised took around 20 days even when this simply required the release of meeting minutes that must already have existed.
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 7: It is strange that this slide refers to both 232 and 390 non-resident responses. Our independent analysis based on the raw data from SurveyMonkey concludes that of the 1,996 responses, 1,324 respondents describe themselves as "Fylde residents", 224 as "not Fylde residents" and 448 did not answer that question. The raw data shows the correct figure for "dog owners" as 1,110. These errors are not of huge significance but show careless processing of data by Council officials.
Presentation

Our Response to Slides 8 and 9: This is a simplistic analysis of the 'free text' responses. We will provide a more detailed version of this on our Consultation page in due course
Presentation Presentation

Our Response to Slides 10 to 15: These slides are presumed to be a random selection of the text comments as examples.
  • The Working Group is making recommendations that will affect the whole Borough, asked people for their views but couldn't be bothered to read them - just picking out 10% - allegedly selected at random. They should have studied ALL of the comments and not just a sample - another example of the contempt with which the Working Group is treating Fylde residents.
  • We do not pretend that all comments supported our views but here are just a few of the other comments the Working Group might have taken note of. We encourage everyone, especially Fylde Councillors, to read the whole list. It can be accessed from our Consultation page HERE.:


    • Draconian measures from a council working against the wishes of its residents. Waste of law abiding tax payers money. An exercise in raising money for a council who cannot manage their finances adequately. Disproportionate measures for a conceived problem that does not exist. Biased questionnaire. Ridiculous proposals mean an increase in carbon footprint driving to Council designated areas. Think global warming. Beauty of living on Fylde Coast means beach and grassed areas easily accessible to all. Should be free of restrictions. Let's all exist happily together and combat obesity and ill health. Wardens with minimal training should not be able to issue fixed penalty notices. Only courts and police should have this power.
    • I am a visitor to Lytham and St Annes regularly in summer with my daughter who has two dogs. We enjoy the day out as the dogs can be exercised on the Green and she takes them on to the beach before we go for fish and chips at Seniors. We would have no reason to visit Lytham from cleveleys (where I live) without the opportunity to walk the dogs in the first place. I think these laws are draconian. I am 87 years old and have seen nothing but an increase in bye laws and more red tape that is an excuse to make money.
    • There is no objective evidence of the need for these draconian proposals. I am disabled and use a buggy and the Blackpool North playing fields is the only place I can accompany my dog when he's being exercised. Many elderly and disabled old people exercise their dogs on this field, By all means ban dogs whilst football games are on, but there is no evidence of the need for a total exclusion.
    • I am not a dog owner but object strongly to the ridiculous persecution of those that are in a set of proposals that are not necessary. Why is all this effort being spent? Why don't you just use existing laws? You are stirring up trouble in a happy community and we did not vote you in to do that.
    • If you are going to adopt such dog-hostile attitudes I will go elsewhere with my dogs and business. Shame as up to now it has been a great place for a day out. I wonder what local businesses think of this?
    • Just enforce the no fouling rules. people get a lot of pleasure and companionship from owning a dog and these new proposed rules are just stupid.
Presentation Presentation Presentation Presentation Presentation Presentation

Our Response to Slides 16 to 18: These slides summarise other areas for which specific responders want additional controls over and above those proposed. As has already been mentioned, the meeting had no enthusiasm for adding more locations at this point in time.

Note that there is no accompanying slide listing the areas where people said that they want existing restrictions removed.
Presentation Presentation Presentation

Our Response to Slide 19: This slide summarises the legal conditions that need to be met for a PSPO to be put in place. We have to assume that the Council Legal Department believe that the proposed orders meet these requirements. We believe that there will be a lot of scope for legal challenges given the lack of objective evidence for most of the PSPOs if they go ahead.
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 20: This slide gives the game away about how the Council has used selective discarding of data from the survey because the results didn't fit their desired outcome.
  • There is no reason to assume that only those familiar with the rural areas voted for specific questions about them - no information was gathered about where responders lived other than whether they were from The Fylde or outside areas so this is pure speculation and it is dishonest to discard data for this reason.
  • Ignoring 'no comment' responses to questions is a sneaky but very clumsy and obvious way to exaggerate the degree of support for the proposals.
  • Having manipulated the data by this 'sleight of hand', the Council proceeds to claim a level of support for its proposals that is not supported by the data and the effect of this is apparent in the following slides.
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 21: This slide claims to represent proposed PSPOs that have 55% or more support from responders.
  • The support claimed for deailing with fouling is the only valid item on the slide.
  • All other claims made about support are overstated as a result of discarding inconvenient data with only the first four items on this list having 55% or more support.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Fouling: Support 88%, Object 12%, No Comment - 0%
  • Cemetery: Support 57%, Object 17%, No Comment - 26%, Level of support overclaimed 20%
  • Highway: Support 60%, Object 23%, No Comment - 17%, Level of support overclaimed 13%
  • Play areas: Support 55%, Object 25%, No Comment - 20%, Level of support overclaimed 14%
  • Car parks: Support 51%, Object 32%, No Comment - 17%, Level of support overclaimed 11%
  • Amenity beach: Support 46%, Object 29%, No Comment - 25%, Level of support overclaimed 15%
  • Water features: Support 45%, Object 35%, No Comment - 20%, Level of support overclaimed 11%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 22: This slide is supposed to represent PSPOs receiving a fair degree of support.
  • None of the claims about support made on this slide are valid
  • All claims made about support are overstated as a result of discarding inconvenient data by amounts between 10% and 24%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Cenotaph Gardens: Support 30%, Object 25%, No Comment - 45%, Level of support overclaimed 24%
  • Rose Gardens Freck.: Support 29%, Object 26%, No Comment - 45%, Level of support overclaimed 24%
  • Nature Reserve: Support 37%, Object 41%, No Comment - 22%, Level of support overclaimed 12%
  • Ashton Gardens: Support 37%, Object 41%, No Comment - 22%, Level of support overclaimed 11%
  • Memorial Gardens Freck.: Support 29%, Object 31%, No Comment - 40%, Level of support overclaimed 19%
  • Meadow Park: Support 25%, Object 29%, No Comment - 46%, Level of support overclaimed 22%
  • Lowther Gardens: Support 37%, Object 41%, No Comment - 22%, Level of support overclaimed 10%
  • Larbreck Play Area: Support 25%, Object 30%, No Comment - 45%, Level of support overclaimed 21%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 23: This slide is supposed to represent those PSPOS with less than 45% support. In fact 36% or less support would be a more accurate description.
  • None of the claims about support made on this slide are valid
  • All claims made about support are overstated as a result of discarding inconvenient data by amounts between 6% and 21%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Promenade and Gardens: Support 36%, Object 44%, No Comment - 20%, Level of support overclaimed 9%
  • Staining Rise: Support 23%, Object 29%, No Comment - 48%, Level of support overclaimed 21%
  • Fairhaven: Support 34%, Object 46%, No Comment - 20%, Level of support overclaimed 8%
  • Lytham Green: Support 33%, Object 46%, No Comment - 21%, Level of support overclaimed 9%
  • Hope Street: Support 29%, Object 41%, No Comment - 30%, Level of support overclaimed 13%
  • Derby Rd. Wesham: Support 24%, Object 33%, No Comment - 43%, Level of support overclaimed 18%
  • Fleetwood Rd. Wesham: Support 24%, Object 33%, No Comment - 43%, Level of support overclaimed 18%
  • Orchard/Nature reserve Elswick: Support 21%, Object 31%, No Comment - 48%, Level of support overclaimed 19%
  • Bush Lane, Freck.: Support 24%, Object 35%, No Comment - 41%, Level of support overclaimed 16%
  • Granny's Bay: Support 27%, Object 53%, No Comment - 20%, Level of support overclaimed 6%
  • Sea Defence area: Support 26%, Object 52%, No Comment - 22%, Level of support overclaimed 8%
  • Blackpool Road: Support 23%, Object 47%, No Comment - 30%, Level of support overclaimed 10%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 24: The Council proposed a PSPO to limit the number of dogs walked by any one person to four. Rather than ask in the survey "Do you support a limit of four" the matter was confused by adding multiple choices - presumably because those drawing up the survey realised that most people would reject this - as indeed they did as can be seen from the data below.

The number of people supporting a four-dog limit was just 29% and there were a large number of written comments saying how ridiculous such a limit would be as it takes no account of the size or nature of the dogs or the abilities of the handler.

The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • No limit: 28%, Four dogs 29%%, Five dogs 4%, Six dogs 8%, 7-10 dogs 4%, 4 or more under direction: 7%, No response: 20%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 25: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group recommended supporting this proposal and are surprised that the support wasn't actually higher in this case.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 21%.
  • Even though we support this proposal, we note that Fylde Council has produced no objective evidence to show that there is a problem that needs addressing.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 57%, Object 17%, No Comment - 26%, Level of support overclaimed 21%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 26: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group recommended supporting this proposal and are surprised that the support wasn't actually higher in this case though we are concerned about the interpretation here - for example does it include tracks and pathways - if this goes ahead we would like clarification.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 13%.
  • Even though we support this proposal, we note that Fylde Council has produced no objective evidence to show that there is a problem.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 60%, Object 23%, No Comment - 17%, Level of support overclaimed 13%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 27: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as it involves a total ban and we believe that this is unnecessary - although we would support a "dogs on leads" approach. A total ban will discriminate against local people with children who want to take the family dog when the children go to play as part of normal activities.
  • We are appalled by the outrageous claim made on television by Council Official Sarah Wilson that dog owners are allowing their dogs to enter children's play areas and both foul and damage play equipment. Freedom of Information requests have disclosed that there is absolutely no objective evidence about this and, even if damage that has been attributed, though not proven to be, due to dogs is accepted at face value, it amounts to an average of one incident per year in the entire Borough.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 14%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 55%, Object 25%, No Comment - 20%, Level of support overclaimed 14%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 28: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group recommended supporting this proposal and are surprised that the support wasn't higher in this case.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 15%.
  • If signage was improved - particularly for people walking along the beach from other areas, such problems as there are would be reduced without the need for a specific PSPO.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 46%, Object 29%, No Comment - 25%, Level of support overclaimed 15%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 29: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this PSPO as there is no objective evidence of a problem so it is not necessary. Most car parks are well away from roads and present no problems - where there is traffic or other people, dog owners should be allowed to use common sense and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 10%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 37%, Object 41%, No Comment - 22%, Level of support overclaimed 10%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 30: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal which would exclude dogs from water features as there is no objective evidence of this being a problem. Arguments put forward by the Council about the restriction being 'in the interest of dogs due to potential problems with algae etc.' are ridiculous. Such a problem would affect people as well and should lead to any affected water feature being cordoned off - in which case dog owners are hardly likely to allow their dogs into water. A general requirement for dogs to be kept under control in such areas, and put on leads when instructed by a dog warden is sufficient.

The data from SurveyMonkey shows the following and support is overstated by 11%:
  • Support 45%, Object 35%, No Comment - 20%, Level of support overclaimed 11%
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 31: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 24%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 30%, Object 25%, No Comment - 45%, Level of support overclaimed 24%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 32: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 24%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 29%, Object 26%, No Comment - 45%, Level of support overclaimed 24%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 33: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 12%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 37%, Object 41%, No Comment - 22%, Level of support overclaimed 12%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 34: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 11%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 37%, Object 41%, No Comment - 22%, Level of support overclaimed 11%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 35: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 19%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 29%, Object 31%, No Comment - 40%, Level of support overclaimed 19%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 36: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 19%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 29%, Object 31%, No Comment - 40%, Level of support overclaimed 19%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 37: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 22%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 25%, Object 29%, No Comment - 46%, Level of support overclaimed 22%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 38: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 21%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 25%, Object 30%, No Comment - 45%, Level of support overclaimed 21%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 39: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 21%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 23%, Object 29%, No Comment - 48%, Level of support overclaimed 21%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 40: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 9%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 36%, Object 44%, No Comment - 20%, Level of support overclaimed 9%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 41: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 13%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 29%, Object 41%, No Comment - 30%, Level of support overclaimed 13%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 42: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 8%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 34%, Object 46%, No Comment - 20%, Level of support overclaimed 8%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 43: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 9%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 33%, Object 46%, No Comment - 21%, Level of support overclaimed 9%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 44: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 18%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 24%, Object 33%, No Comment - 43%, Level of support overclaimed 18%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 45: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 18%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 24%, Object 33%, No Comment - 43%, Level of support overclaimed 18%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 46: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 19%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 21%, Object 31%, No Comment - 48%, Level of support overclaimed 19%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 47: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 16%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 24%, Object 35%, No Comment - 41%, Level of support overclaimed 16%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 48: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as there is no objective evidence of a problem at this location and a PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 6%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 27%, Object 53%, No Comment - 20%, Level of support overclaimed 6%
Presentation

Our Response to Slide 49: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group opposes this proposal as we find the entire argument on this topic, especially the statements made about birds, totally unconvincing and not supported by documents released under Freedom of Information requests. Our doubt is clearly shared by responders. A PSPO is not justified.
  • As a result of discarding inconvenient data, the claims made by Fylde Council about support is overstated by 8%.
The unadulterated data from SurveyMonkey shows the following:
  • Support 26%, Object 52%, No Comment - 22%, Level of support overclaimed 8%
Presentation Presentation

Our Response to Slide 51: Fylde Orders for Dog Control Action Group agrees that it is not possible to please everyone but finds this slide offensive as it treats a quarter of the population with contempt. "If they don't like it - hard luck".

If a Council wants to propose draconian restrictions, they should at the very least be objectively justified, all interested parties consulted and a pragmatic rather than prejudiced and dogmatic approach applied. Given the unprofessional and biased way Fylde Council has approached these proposals it can hardly be surprised it is meeting opposition. Presentation

Meeting on 23 August 2016

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting can be accessed HERE.

According to the minutes those present were:

Councillors: Ben Aitken, David Eaves, Cheryl Little, Albert Pounder, Vince Settle
Officers: Allan Oldfield, Kathy Winstanley, Sarah Wilson, Sharon Wadsworth, Tara Walsh (although she seems not to be on the list of those appointed to this group)

Here is a summary of the main things that took place at the meeting based on the minutes. The key impacts on dog owners are once again extensive and are highlighted.

  • Body cameras for 'Dog Enforcement Wardens' have been purchased from existing budgets and recommendations to be amended to approve their use immediately.
  • Following discussions with Parish and Town Councils the proposals to be amended to include additional on-lead restrictions or outright bans at Kirkham Memorial Park, Larbreck Play Area, and Orchard Nature Reserve.
  • Following discussions with the Parks Department, the proposals to be amended to include additional restrictions at Lytham St. Annes Nature Reserve, and Grannies Bay.
  • A recommendation should be made to request a one-off budget increase of £12k to cover the cost of signage and education related to dog PSPOs.
  • The proposals would be amended to include an additional column in the Appendix specifying restrictions to provide justification based on complaints received.
  • Officers to provide the Police and Crime Commissioner with a copy of the final report and invite the PCC to attend or provide feedback to the committee meeting.
  • A final report to go to the Operational Management Committee with a recommended implementation date for the PSPOs of 1 June 2017.
  • Councillor Eaves "commended the superb, informative and high quality of the work that, Sarah Wilson in particular, had provided to the group. He believed that the in depth knowledge and information provided had aided the group to make informed recommendations."
Comments
  • As with the earlier meetings of this committee, there is no evidence in the minutes of any due diligence being performed by the Councillors in attendance. It is almost like the meeting took the view "Does anyone feel like adding some more restrictions while we are at it? - we might just as well".
  • As in previous meetings, no objective evidence was provided to justify any of the additions to the proposed restrictions and bans.
  • In commending the "superb, informative and high quality work" of Council staff, Councillor Eaves must either be very gullible or was being sarcastic.

Meeting on 26 July 2016

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting can be accessed HERE.

According to the minutes those present were:

Councillors: Ben Aitken, David Eaves, Cheryl Little, Albert Pounder, Vince Settle
Officers: Allan Oldfield, Kathy Winstanley, Sarah Wilson, Sharon Wadsworth

Here is a summary of the main things that took place at the meeting based on the minutes. The key impacts on dog owners are extensive and are highlighted:

  • It was confirmed that the cost of body cameras for the dog wardens would be £1,150 plus VAT for two units
  • Recommendations would be made for PSPOs for the whole borough for:
    • Dogs must be kept on a lead at all times on all public highways
    • Requirement for the removal of dog faeces at all times
    • No dogs allowed in children’s play areas
  • Clarification was sort (sic) to confirm that children’s play areas included all enclosed play areas, bowling greens, pitch and putt / golf, skate parks, trim trails, BMX tracks, tennis courts and area designated as MUGA (Multiple Use Games Area’s)
  • A recommendation was made for a PSPO for maximum four (4) dogs under the control of one person
  • Recommendation that a 'zero tolerance' approach would be taken rather than discretionary.
  • Various Byelaws to be Replaced/Amended/Repealed (please see the minutes for details as they are extensive)
  • Dog Exclusion Byelaws already existing to be replaced by PSPOs - St Annes beach, Cenotaph Gardens and Rose Memorial Gardens
  • PSPOs to be recommended across the borough for:
    • Water Bodies i.e. fountains, paddling pools, ponds and lakes – Exclusion, no dogs allowed.
    • Car Parks – Dogs on leads at all times
    • Lytham Cemetery – Dogs on leads at all times
    • Grannies Bay - area between Stannah Bank to slipway, dogs on lead by direction at all times with the exception of between 1st May to 30th September whereby dogs must be kept on a lead.
  • Football Pitches
    • Blackpool Road North playing field – Recommend new PSPO for dogs to be on a lead. Request to St Annes Town Council to look at sectioning off an area for a dog run area.
    • Park View playing fields – Recommend new PSPO to exclude dogs from the football pitches.
  • Consideration of further restrictions proposed by Parish/Town Councils at Staining, Elswick and Wesham and Freckleton. Of these it was agreed to recommend a new PSPO for dogs on leads at all times at Bush Lane Playing Fields
  • Commendation of by Councillor Eames for "the high quality work that Sarah Wilson had put into the presentations and supporting information."
Powerpoint Presentation

As this meeting also took place behind closed doors with no apparent desire to disclose the minutes, we do not know what was said during the presentation of these slides and can only comment on their content. Normally in formal committees and meetings, presentations are subject to challenges and queries, but there is no record of this having taken place recorded in the minutes of the meeting so it is reasonable to assume that everyone present at the meeting completely agreed with the content. As we believe firmly in 'due diligence', we have provided comments and challenges in retrospect based on information obtained via Freedom of Information requests which are cited as appropriate.

Presentation
Our Response to Slide 1: Advice on using the powers under the Anti-social behaviour powers is provided by the Home Office in a document that can be acccessed on our links page HERE. It includes the following:

"Our aim in reforming the anti-social behaviour powers is to give the police, councils and others more effective means of protecting victims, not to penalise particular behaviours. Frontline professionals must use the powers in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 responsibly and proportionately, and only where necessary to protect the public".
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 2: Remember that these decisions were taken without being backed up by objective evidence or critical analysis - see notes on the slides from the meeting on 14 July above. It should also be noted that Fylde Council appear not to have even considered retaining the status quo.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 3: So Dog Wardens will be given no discretion. Sorry if you are elderly or disabled, struggle with reading signs, have an assistance dog, don't know the area etc. You will be filmed and given a Fixed Penalty Notice adding money to Fylde Council coffers just the same. This is shameful and hardly in keeping with Fylde Council's objectives in its Corporate Plan for 2016-2020 -- "Great place to live" and "Great place to visit".

"Your dog strayed into a 'lead only' area before you noticed the sign? - How unfortunate for you - have a FPN. Welcome to The Fylde and have a nice day".
Presentation
Note and Comments on Slide 4: As previously stated, Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at any of the sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE, and confirmed that they have no record of even one complaint about people walking multiple dogs - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151247 HERE.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 5: This appears to be a 'wish list' of other restrictions that might get pushed through if nobody notices. Like the rest of the proposals, Fylde Council is unable to provide objective evidence of problems in any of these areas. As to the reference to 'MUGA' - Fylde Council does not have a legal definition of what one is - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151247 HERE
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 6: The option of doing nothing and maintaining the status quo is not even considered.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 7: This presumably refers to the recommendation for a PSPO to keep dogs on leads on public roads. The Control of Dogs on Roads Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1995 empowers Local Authorities to make regulations for the control of dogs on specified roads within its boundaries. We don't know the extent of what is proposed. What is the situation with backroads, unadopted roads, farm tracks etc.?
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 8 and 9: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at either of these sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 10 and 11: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at either of these sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. These areas are already covered by "dogs on leads" byelaws.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 12 and 13: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at this sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. These areas are already covered by "dogs on leads" byelaws.

In Appendix A to the document put forward for Decision Item 4 of the Operational Management Committee meeting on 15 November 2016, the Working Group included a note purporting to support a ban on dogs from water feature suggested that this was for "the protection of dogs" from water-borne infections and plants such as algae. Strangely there is no reference to risks to children and people; if the water feature is really a danger than maybe it needs to be drained? There have been no reported complaints about dogs damaging water features.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 14 and 15: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at these sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. There is no reference to what was said during the presentatation of these slides recorded in the meeting minutes.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 16 and 17: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at these sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. There is no reference to what was said during the presentatation of these slides recorded in the meeting minutes.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 19 and 20: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at these sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. There is no reference to what was said during the presentatation of these slides recorded in the meeting minutes.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 21 and 22: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at these sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. There is no reference to what was said during the presentatation of these slides recorded in the meeting minutes.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 23 and 24: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at these sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. There is no reference to what was said during the presentatation of these slides recorded in the meeting minutes.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 25 and 26: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at this site for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. There is no reference to what was said during the presentatation of these slides recorded in the meeting minutes.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 27 and 28: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at this site for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 29 and 30: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at this site for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. There is no reference to what was said during the presentatation of these slides recorded in the meeting minutes.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 31: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at this site for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. There is no reference to what was said during the presentatation of these slides recorded in the meeting minutes.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 32 and 33: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at this site for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. There is no reference to what was said during the presentatation of these slides recorded in the meeting minutes.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 34: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at these sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. There have been no objections to the proposed PSPOs for 'dogs on leads' in the Cemetery. No objective evidence has been provided of issues with dogs and water features. References made by the Council that the water in ponds, fountains and lakes is 'unsafe for dogs' would, if true, mean the water is also unsafe for humans and therefore there should be no boating activity or model boats on Fairhaven Lake. Responsible dog owners do not let their dogs in the water features in any case out of respect to the birdlife. Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems with dogs disturbing wildlife at Grannies Bay or other sites with water features for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 35: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at these sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. Football pitches are only used for short periods each week and should be available for use by dog owners at other times. Park View is not a responsibility of Fylde Council and should not appear here at all. This would have been identified at an early stage if Working Group members had done effective research and applied due diligence in meetings. In fact coverage of Park View by a PSPO was included through to the meeting on 15 November. As to the reference to 'MUGA' - Fylde Council does not have a legal definition of what one is - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151247 HERE
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 36: So it appears that of the 10 parishes contacted only 2 had responded in support of the proposals.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 37: Feedback apparently only from the Parish Clerk rather than Councillors. Newton with Clifton seems to be in favour of a "goodwill and consensual approach" rather than PSPOs and enforcement.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 38: It is not clear where the feedback came from but like all the other locations specifically targeted by the PSPOs Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at this site for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slide 39 and 40: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at these sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 41 and 42: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at these sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE.
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 43 and 44: These appear to relate to the Piedmont Dog Park in Atlanta Georgia but there is no reference to this in the minutes. Maybe this is an example of good practice that Fylde Council would like to put in place if they had funding? What is proposed in PSPOs seems worlds apart ....
Presentation Presentation
Our Response to Slides 45 and 46: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective evidence of problems at these sites for which restrictions or exclusions are proposed - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide: Absolutely nothing about wider consultation, seeking alternative viewpoints, examination of good practice at other locations which should have been done BEFORE making proposals.

Meeting on 14 July 2016

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting can be accessed HERE.

According to the minutes those present were:

Councillors: Ben Aitken, David Eaves, Cheryl Little, Albert Pounder, Vince Settle
Officers: Allan Oldfield, Kathy Winstanley, Sarah Wilson, Sharon Wadsworth

Here is a summary of the main things that took place at the meeting based on the minutes:

  • David Eaves was elected as chairman
  • Alan Oldfield gave an overview of how the Working Group would be structured
  • Sarah Wilson gave a powerpoint presentation (which appears to have taken up the bulk of the meeting and which is dissected below)
  • A recommendation was made to provide bodycams for dog wardens
  • Consideration was given to budgets and signage
  • Timescales were considered
  • Other uses for PSPOs should be discussed at future meetings
Powerpoint Presentation

As this meeting took place behind closed doors with no apparent desire to disclose the minutes, we do not know what was said during the presentation of these slides and can only comment on their content. Despite a couple of 'token' slides covering other matters, the presentation was focused on dogs.

Normally in formal committees and meetings, presentations are subject to challenges and queries, but there is no record of this having taken place recorded in the minutes of the meeting so it is reasonable to assume that everyone present at the meeting completely agreed with the content. As we believe firmly in 'due diligence', we have provided comments and challenges in retrospect based on information obtained via Freedom of Information requests which are cited as appropriate.


Presentation
Our Response to Slide 1: Advice on using the powers under the Anti-social behaviour powers is provided by the Home Office in a document that can be acccessed on our links page HERE. It includes the following:

"Our aim in reforming the anti-social behaviour powers is to give the police, councils and others more effective means of protecting victims, not to penalise particular behaviours. Frontline professionals must use the powers in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 responsibly and proportionately, and only where necessary to protect the public".
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 2: Obsession with dogs does not seem to be a new thing for Fylde Council with 10 out of the 30 byelaws having 'dogs' directly in the title, and many more mentioning them in the content.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 3: Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective data about complaints relating to the Freckleton sites mentioned - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 4: Byelaw section 3 about dog fouling includes provision for prosecution with a fine not exceeding £50. Whilst it is true that there are no restrictions of dogs from children's play areas, Fylde Council states it has only had one complaint about this in the last year. Information provided under Freedom of Information request #152050 HERE show that there has been an average of one complaint per year that has been attributed by the Council to dogs, but no actual evidence that the dogs, as opposed to foxes or other wild animals, were responsible. There have been NO formal complaints about the number of dogs walked by an individual - see Freedom of Information request #151247 HERE.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 5: The number of dog fouling complaints matches the figures provided by Fylde Council - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. The meaning of the other columns of figures is unclear. The numbers of 'Total Service Requests' is not the total of the other items in each row so presumably includes matters unrelated to dogs. An objective interpretation of Council data is that all classes of complaints related to dogs, including fouling, are decliningper the graph HERE.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 6: The presentation includes unsubstantiated quotes that appear to have been lifted from a social networking site and presented here as if they are formal complaints as opposed to being anecdotal. Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective data about complaints relating to this site - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 7: The presentation includes unsubstantiated quotes that appear to have been lifted from a social networking site and presented here as if they are formal complaints as opposed to being anecdotal. Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective data about complaints relating to this site - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE.
Presentation
Our Response to slide 8: The presentation includes further unsubstantiated quotes. Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective data about complaints relating to this site - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. The alleged biting incident at Hope Street should have been reported to the police who could have used existing laws to prosecute the owner.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 9: The presentation includes further unsubstantiated quotes. Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective data about complaints relating to this site - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. The signage should be improved to help this problem. Exclusion zones are not made clear on signs in the adjacent car parks and there are no signs on the beaches so someone unfamiliar with the area walking towards the pier from another part of the beach would be unaware of the restiction. Even so, it would be very easy to enforce the byelaw for this small and easily-observed area by regular patrols by the dog wardens. It is difficult to understand why the Council believes that the creation of a PSPO for this area would cause people to behave differently - local people abide by the current byelaw - this is an issue that calls for better signage, education and enforcement.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 10: The presentation fails to mention that the trends in the number of dog fouling, agressive dogs and 'strays' incidents are all downward, and that 'dogs off leads/exclusion' incidents is both low and steady. The statement made here is based on Fylde Council's own data which was apparently not even examined by the Council employees preparing recommendations to the Council - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE. The Council and its employees has totally disregarded the advice on the need for sensitive consultation produced by DEFRA - which can be accessed HERE.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 11: A key phrase on this slide is "any representatives of the local community deemed appropriate to consult". Fylde Council interpretation of this is apparently 'None of them apart from parish Councillors or paid Council employees'. This is totally unacceptable.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 12: Yes these things may be included in PSPOs, but this doesn't necessarily mean it is a good idea to do so....

As previously stated, Fylde Council is unable to provide any objective data about complaints relating to any of the specific sites included in their proposals as justification - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151246 HERE, and confirmed that they have no record of even one complaint about people walking multiple dogs - see the response to Freedom of Information request #151247 HERE. No account has been taken of the valuable service professional dog walkers do for members of the community who are unable to exercise their dogs.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 13: Action on everything but dogs appears to have been "kicked into the long grass" judging from the minutes of the Operational Management Committee on 15 November 2016.
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 14: So Fylde Council believes that it should give priority to PSPOs related to dogs rather than drinking in public places? Do they really believe that citizens think this is more important and urgent?
Presentation
Our Response to Slide 15: Possibly the most disturbing thing about this presentation is that it starts by proposing a list of restrictions that should be imposed without objective evidence of the need for them, and finishes by asking what other restrictions might be thrown in 'while we are about it'.

Thank you for your support.

Ann DeRizzio, Samantha Ramsay, Brian Watson, Katy Grierson

Email positive suggestions to: pspo@benjidog.co.uk