Row over dogs in forest deepens
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