Victoria Park dog walkers to be consulted over mandatory leashes

Residents are being invited by Tower Hamlets council to give their views on whether pets should be allowed off their leads in the borough’s parks.

The meeting, scheduled for Saturday, follows fears from dog owners that they may no longer be able to let their pets off the leash, in particular in Victoria Park.

The council has previously insisted that it would not act without listening to the concerns of dog owners such as Jason da Silva, who had previously lamented the lack of public consultation on the issue.

“We find this whole process to be highly underhand,” he told the Advertiser last month.

“There has been absolutely no public information that restricting our ability to walk him is being discussed and zero consultation with other actual dog walkers that use the park.”

However, in a letter seen by the Advertiser Tower Hamlets council’s head of parks Michael Rowan told Labour group leader cllr Joshua Peck that some people have had their enjoyment of the park marred by the behaviour of dogs. He also added that no decision would be made without asking residents for their views.

“Can I first assure you that there is no current proposal to ban dogs off the lead in Victoria Park”, he wrote.

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“In line with many local authorities (including Hackney) we are reviewing our policy on dogs in parks and are therefore beginning some preliminary discussions with interested groups.

“The outcome of the consultation will indicate how we should take this forward and may of course conclude that we should maintain the status quo”, he added.

The meeting is to be held at the Hub building on the eastern side of Victoria Park from 1-3pm on Saturday November 17.