Row over dogs in for­est deep­ens

Macclesfield Express - - FRONT PAGE - STU­ART GREER

ALANDOWNERS has joined the row over new rules order­ing dogs to be kept on leads at Macclesfield For­est.

United Util­i­ties, which owns the land, put 50 signs up urg­ing dog own­ers to keep their pets un­der con­trol af­ter re­ports of peo­ple be­ing bit­ten and deer be­ing chased.

But within days the signs dis­ap­peared from the for­est.

It is thought that some dog own­ers op­posed to the move could have moved the signs as a protest.

But landowner Richard May, who owns 600 acres next to Macclesfield For­est stretch­ing to Shut­lingsloe, is urg­ing dog own­ers to be more con­sid­er­ate or face los­ing ac­cess to the beauty spot.

Mr May, from Sut­ton, said: “The bot­tom line is the for­est is pri­vate land.

“United Util­i­ties don’t have to let peo­ple use it and could put up a great big fence keep­ing peo­ple out. But they let peo­ple come in to en­joy it. To be able to use it comes with re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. For landown­ers dogs are a big, big prob­lem. Ev­ery­one thinks their dog is bril­liant and un­der con­trol. But at some stage in the dog’s life, it won’t be.”

Mr May said ed­u­ca­tion is the key to solv­ing the prob­lem.

He added: “If I see a dog out of con­trol I will ex­plain to the owner about the im­pact the dog is hav­ing on wildlife, par­tic­u­larly ground-nest­ing birds. Ninety per­cent don’t re­alise and ap­pre­ci­ate the ad­vise. But there’ll one in 10 who want to throw a punch. We need to ed­u­cate peo­ple about en­joy­ing th­ese beauty spots. The other op­tion is to cre- ate an area for dogs to run free sep­a­rate from the rest of the for­est.”

The new rules prompted a mix­ture of re­sponses from dog own­ers on our Face­book page.

Tracy Boon Huy­ton said: “What a load of rub­bish. Peo­ple only com­plain be­cause a dog has prob­a­bly been friendly and gone to say hello. Put the moan­ers on a lead and give them a muzzle. I say.”

Martin Good­win said the mi­nor­ity make things dif­fi­cult for the ma­jor­ity.

He said: “Th­ese no­tices are an af­front to re­spon­si­ble dog own­ers.

“Ir­re­spon­si­ble do­gown­ers/walk­ers will not change their be­hav­iour be­cause of them.”

Oth­ers were more sym­pa­thetic to United Util­i­ties.

Claire Man­nion said peo­ple need to be more con­sid­er­ate.

She said: “We live in a fab­u­lous part of the world, use it or lose it guys.”

Hol­lie Wild and Sam Bar­rett said train­ing out of con­trol dogs would help solve the prob­lem.

The row comes as res­i­dents are set to clash with the coun­cil over park­ing on roads near the for­est.

Cheshire East is propos­ing to ban park­ing on Stand­ing Stone Road, Trenta­bank Road, Field Road and sec­tions of Clarke Lane, Red Lane, For­est Side and Oven Lane.

It is hoped the re­stric­tions will stop prob­lems caused by Macclesfield For­est vis­i­tors park­ing on the roads.

But res­i­dents in Lan­g­ley are wor­ried the pro­pos­als will only move the prob­lem, forc­ing driv­ers to park closer to and in the vil­lage.

See Your Views on page 14

» Signs urg­ing dog walk­ers to keep dogs on eads have had mixed re­views

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