60 Seconds: Every dog has its day

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60 Seconds: Every dog has its day

Morning,

Every male dog in Britain must be heaving a huge sigh of relief. A High Court judge has ruled that they can continue to exercise their right to cock their legs as much as they want in public parks.

And who was trying to stop them? The good burghers of Richmond Borough Council in London.

Now you would have thought that Richmond has enough problems to deal with – shortage of housing, Brexit, knife crime, but, no-dogs are the big issue.

And if you thought my fellow-countryman, Jonathan Swift’s ’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ showed up the stupidity of politicians with the Lilliputians warring over whether to open an egg from the thin or the round side, just wait.

Richmond Council wanted to reduce the number of dogs that can be walked at any one time from six to four and the number of licenced dog-walkers to 15. So they launched a consultation in March 2017 to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

Almost two out of three respondents disagreed with the proposal and a separate online petition opposing it got nearly 2,000 signatures.

Along with this, nearly 200 people (and their dogs) joined a peaceful protest in Twickenham.

But this held no sway with the good burghers who voted near-unanimously to impose the ban, which also stopped the male of the species spending a penny on a lamp-post.

A report from that excellent organ, The Richmond and Twickenham Times recorded the meeting as follows:

Councillor Pamela Fleming, Richmond Council cabinet member for Environment, Business and Community, motioned to raise the number  [from 15] to 18, which was accepted. [By the way, Cllr Fleming pulls in some £20,000 a year for her efforts on the Council.]

Those opposing the restrictions are concerned many dog walking businesses “will be adversely affected”, facing closure or income slashes of a third.

c6671be6-8ed2-4c51-b1d7-6741f1ebafe5However, Ham, Petersham and Richmond Riverside Cllr Penelope Frost said she, and other councillors, had received a “significant stream of emails from local residents” who were very concerned about the increase in the number of dogs in the borough.

She said she hoped those people would “not be drowned out by an efficient social media campaign”.

Cllr Fleming said: “Over the last few years we have seen a rise in the number of complaints we have received about dogs not being under control in our parks.

“People have told us they feel intimidated when they see ‘packs’ of dogs being walked, sometimes by multiple dog walkers at the same time.”

However, a Freedom of Information request showed that there had only been four complaints in seven years. Hardly a flood. Sorry.

All very witty, but when you think the council spent 15 minutes debating this, it does make you wonder.

Anyway, a local resident Ms Caroline Summers was taking none of this, so off she went to the High Court. The judge, Mrs May (no, not that one) upheld the PSPO but gave relief to all male pooches.

As the local elections approach, you may be sure that all those dog-owners will be more than willing to cock-a-snoop or a poop at the councillors.

Have a good weekend.

Tom


This week at Curtin&Co

On Tuesday morning, Curtin&Co was delighted to host a breakfast seminar with leading players in the PRS market. The session was chaired by the Chairman of Curtin&Co’s advisory Board, Roger Bright, who were joined by Richard Green, Partner at Venn Partners, Michela Hancock, Greystar and Nick Stanton OBE, Curtin&Co. The hot topic was ‘is PRS coming of Age?’ and whether the industry should be lobbying for an additional use class to differentiate it from both traditional house building and from small private landlords. It was an interesting and topical debate and we thank all of our speakers and guests for a great turnout.

The week ahead

For the many not the few
Jeremy Corbyn promises to build a million ‘genuinely affordable’ homes

Escape to the country
Londoners want a country house to live the rural dream

Power to the people
the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee calls for greater protections for vulnerable tenants

And Finally…

Sing when you’re winning
Robbie Williams set to WIN four-year war to build a summer-house


Curtin&Co specialises in the fields of Community Consultation and Political Engagement, especially around development, and Reputation & Crisis Management.

Curtin&Co has grown rapidly to a team of over 20 highly qualified political, community engagement and reputation management specialists, having been founded by Tom Curtin in 2009.  In 2016, Curtin&Co was delighted to be listed in PR Week’s Top 150 Public Relations consultancies at number 86 and in the Top 10 Public Affairs consultancies at number 8; a recognition of the quality of the service and growth achieved.

To find out more visit www.curtinandco.com or call Helen Barrett on 0207 399 2288