Football coach and Suffolk FA say fence is needed to stop dog fouling on Howard Estate playing fields

Left to right, Mark Stewart, St Edmundsbury Borough Council Forest Ranger, Cllr Paul Hopfensperger a

Left to right, Mark Stewart, St Edmundsbury Borough Council Forest Ranger, Cllr Paul Hopfensperger and football coach Mark Stiff at the Oakes Road playing field. - Credit: Contributed

Community and sports leaders are getting together on Monday to thrash out a solution to the ongoing problem of dog fouling in part of Bury St Edmunds.

Football coach Mark Stiff, chairman of CFC Bury Football Club, has been forced to scrape up dog mess from the Oakes Road playing field on the Howard Estate before a game.

He believes fencing is the solution to the problem, but St Edmundsbury Borough Council has said this is not a feasible option. On Monday, it is hoped the issue – which also affects the Northumberland Avenue playing field – will be resolved at a meeting of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants.

Independent borough councillor Paul Hopfensperger, who represents the St Olaves ward, said it would be an opportunity for the footballers to express their views to the borough council.

A borough council spokeswoman said: “We are keen to find a solution to this problem for all the users of the park. A fence is not feasible. We will be working with residents on ways to tackle the poor behaviour of irresponsible dog owners.”

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Mr Hopfensperger said: “It’s only a small proportion of people who appear to be doing it [not picking up dog mess]. All we are asking this small group of people is, please, when you let your dog out, please pick the poo up because it’s not fair on the coach having to pick it up each time and it spreads disease.”

FA licensed coach Mr Stiff, whose adult team in the Bury Frames and Conservatories Sunday league uses the Oakes Road playing field, said: “It’s absolutely disgusting. It’s not the majority of the dog owners.”

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He added: “At times I have had to take it home and put it in my bin because the bins are overflowing with rubbish there.”

Mick Pearce, Suffolk FA area representative for West Suffolk and who grew up on the Howard Estate, said it had always been an issue “but it seems to be getting worse”.

“The council, in my mind, have never addressed the issue,” he added.

He agrees with Mr Stiff - who raised concerns last summer - that fencing is the solution. “There’s no other way,” he said. Mr Hopfensperger said he understood the reasons the fence was not feasible for the council included the cost and maintenance. The borough’s parks manager Damien Parker and representatives from Suffolk FA are due to be at the meeting at the Newbury Community Centre from 7pm.

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