Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
So that I am clear, you are not being stopped walking your dog, it just needs to be on a lead?
Yes where since 1931when Rushden Hall Park Estate was purchased by the urban council and specifiede at the opening ceremony that the Park and hall were purchases for the benefit of the people of Rushden and not for the benefit of the council.
The council introduced the dog control order this July that requires all dogs on leads exept in a 5 acre fenced rough area which has a disclaimer of any liability by the council within this lead free area.
I could for 30 years, prior to the order, walk from my back gate into the park and to the town centre or go to the swings with my daughters and grandchildren with my dogs.
This is no longer possible as the dog off lead area is away to the side and as the park is enclosed and has 5 gates it can only be accessed with the dogs on leads to this dog area.
Did you contest the Order or raise it with your Councillor please?
Yes verbally, at Rushden Town Council offices with negative response and last week with the Mayor and councillors when they were posing and back slapping each other for the award of a green flag status for the park. The park was empty during this flag award where previously from opening to closing was used by dog walkers who were the majority users of the park.
But do you still have access to the area without a dog?
Is there any right under practice and custom etc. under common law or any precedent to continue free unfettered access previously enjoyed ?
Do you still have access without the dog?
Yes acess is open to the public 7 to 9 summer 7 to 7 winter and gates are locked outside these hours.
Ok - you would only have a prescriptive right of way if you can establish 20 years use, which you can
The difficulty with that is you are not being denied access
The Council are not stopping you accessing the land, so you can't use the prescriptive right of way argument
As for custom as practice this mainly applies to employment law, for example
an informal 10-minute coffee break at 11am
Therefore you are only left with challenging the order itself
You can do this through your local Councillor as they are elected by you and there to do your bidding. He/she is your public servant
You can write and complain to the Council and set out your position
When they respond you can take it to the Ombudsman
They offer a free, independent service and are available at: www.lgo.org.uk
There is a Judicial Review Court option but that is very expensive and will cost £5000 just to get it heard
Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?
No thanks, ***** ***** thought it was worth checking,
I am sorry its not better news but I have a duty to be honest
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