Fields open again for dog walkers

Fields open again for dog walkers

NAILSEA and Backwell Rugby Club have agreed to unblock access to land off Engine Lane if Nailsea Town Council investigates installing kissing gates on the public footpath.

Dog walkers were outraged last week when access to a field off Engine Lane was blocked by the club to stop dogs from fouling on the rugby club’s fields.

Walkers have been squeezing through a gap in the hedge and cutting across the rugby club’s fields to access the public footpath, rather than climb the stiles further down the lane which disabled people cannot climb over.

This has led to an increase in dog poo on the fields used by children aged six-nine for mini rugby.

At Nailsea Town Council’s planning and environmental committee meeting on Wednesday, rugby club chairman Jeff Morris said: “I apologise if our actions have caused any inconvenience because you are not the irresponsible people we’ve been targeting by our actions.

“I’ve been talking to dog walkers to try to stop the problems we have had in the paddock we use for mini and junior rugby.

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“We have seen an increase in the volume of people coming across the land, breaking back the hedge and damaging the wall to walk their dogs. It’s a minority of people, but unfortunately the minority is spoiling it for the majority.

“There’s a footpath that runs between the second and third team pitches which is constantly being damaged. People damage the dry stone wall and pull up the fences.

“I do apologise for the action we’ve taken. The rugby club is more than happy to work with the council and residents to come up with a satisfactory conclusion.”

Residents at the meeting agreed that replacing the stiles on the public footpath with kissing gates would be a satisfactory solution to the problem and Nailsea Town Council agreed to approach the appropriate land owners to seek permission to put up the new gates.

Committee chairman, councillor James Tonkin said: “I propose that we speak to respective land owners regarding installing kissing gates and to also ask the rugby club to remove the obstruction to the gate in the interim.”

Jeff Morris added: “We will take it down, if you give us a couple of days, pending the move forward.”

A time limit of two months to investigate the installation of kissing gates was agreed between the rugby club and the council.

Kissing gates are expected to cost around �300 each and Nailsea Town Council said it could approach a number of sources to discuss financing the gates.

The council and rugby club have asked that dog walkers adhere to the regulations by keeping their pets on leads while using the footpaths to try to minimise disruption to the rugby club.