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Consultation launched into dog restrictions at Needham lake

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A consultation has been launched on plans for new regulations for dog owners visiting Needham Lake.

The popular Needham Market landmark, which attracts around 340,000 visitors each year, has faced increasing complaints about dog control and dog mess in the area.

At present dog owners must clean up after their pet and make sure it is under control at all times.

However, new restrictions would mean dogs must be kept on leads at all times when walking alongside the lake, at the children’s play area and in the larger part of Mill Meadow.

Anyone failing to comply with the new rules when they come into force, which is expected to be in April next year, could face a £100 on-the-spot fine.

Cllr David Burn, Mid Suffolk District Council’s Environment Portfolio Holder, said: “Needham Lake is a popular destination for many people – dog walkers, anglers and families, as well as local residents.

“We want to make sure all of the people that come to our lake to enjoy it, do just that. After looking at lots of options, the proposals are the ones we thought would best suit all of our users.

“Unfortunately, we have had an increasing amount of complaints about loose dogs chasing wildlife and some inconsiderate owners not cleaning up after their animal so it has made us look at revaluating our rules.

“Of course, we welcome everyone’s views on this.

“We appreciate that dogs need to let off a bit of steam and there are still some large paddock areas at the back of the site where dogs can run free.”

A map of where the new restrictions will apply will be available on notice boards at the lake and are also available on Mid Suffolk’s website - www.midsuffolk.gov.uk/countryside

To leave feedback on the proposal email countryside@midsuffolk.gov.uk or write to the Countryside Team, MSDC, High Street Needham Market, IP6 8DL.