‘Keep out’ says rugby club

‘Keep out’ says rugby club

NAILSEA and Backwell Rugby Club has blocked off access to its land due to the amount of dog faeces pet owners have left on its fields.

The move has angered residents who say they use the fields, which are owned by Nailsea Town Council, as the public right of way further down Engine Lane has three stiles which makes it difficult for disabled and elderly residents to use.

Chris Perry, of Worcester Gardens in Nailsea, said: “The blocking of this pedestrian access has discriminated against two local people in particular as they are both disabled and now cannot take their dogs across what is open fields belonging to the residents of Nailsea.

“I am aware that the rugby club argument is that people don’t clean up after their dogs, but I know that the majority of people that use this open area do clean up and the majority use it for accessing the fields further across, but you will always have the few that don’t.

“The fields are also open to the many foxes and badgers and I suspect that some instances of suspected dog mess are fox and badger faeces.”

However, Norman Selwood, president of Nailsea and Backwell Rugby Club, said the steps have been taken to safeguard the youngsters using the field.

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He said: “The land belongs to Nailsea Town Council but there’s a gate on the road and people have knocked a four feet wide hole in the hedge and wall to use it as a footpath when it’s not a public right of way.

“Because that then allows dog owners and people onto our land, we’ve had the gap blocked up and they don’t like it.

“We were having trouble with dog mess. We’ve got children aged six-nine who play on that piece of land and we are extremely worried about children getting it in their eyes.

“We are not stopping them coming on the land, they’ve got a good footpath close by, but because it means they don’t have to climb over stiles they use our land instead.”

Nailsea Town Council clerk, Ian Morrell, said: “There’s a genuine problem there and it needs to be addressed. People are gaining access to land where there’s no public right of way and that’s not ideal from the town council’s position as land owners, but I can understand why the dog walkers have been doing it.

“There is a public right of way further down but there are stiles making it awkward for people with disabilities.”

The issue is due to be discussed at Nailsea Town Council’s planning and environmental committee meeting tonight (Wed) at Four Oaks, Silver Street, at 7.30pm.