St Edmundsbury changes its mind and agrees to fencing at Oakes Road football pitch in Bury St Edmunds

Second from left, Cllr Paul Hopfensperger and football coach Mark Stiff with rubbish collected from

Second from left, Cllr Paul Hopfensperger and football coach Mark Stiff with rubbish collected from the Oakes Road field. - Credit: Contributed

A new fenced-off area is planned to be installed around a football pitch in Bury St Edmunds to prevent dog mess following discussions with the local community.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council has effectively U-turned over its position on whether to put in a fence at the Oakes Road playing field, where dog fouling has been a long-running issue.

The borough had said “a fence is not feasible,” but after talks with the community over the best way forward the authority has now said it has a commitment for the fencing.

A spokesman said: “Following discussions with the community about the best way to prevent dog fouling on the football pitch at Oakes Road, ward councillors have offered to contribute to the cost of fencing the area, from their locality budgets.

“The St Edmundsbury parks team are scheduled to meet with representatives from the Football Association (FA) later this month, who have indicated that they may be in a position to offer some grant funding.

Detailed specifications for the work along with cost estimates will be prepared once the scope of the project and the funding available is agreed.”

Independent councillor Paul Hopfensperger, who represents the St Olaves ward, said: “I’m just delighted they have seen sense and actually bowed to the fact we need to address this issue.

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“We cannot have kids playing in dog poo.”

Mark Stiff, who coaches football at the Oakes Road pitch, has been forced to scrape up dog mess from the playing field before games and has been pushing for fencing there, as well as at the Northumberland Avenue playing field.

While he said it was “pleasing” to get fencing in Oakes Road, he added “we are only half way there”.

“It makes sense to do them [Oakes Road and Northumberland Avenue] together, but it’s small steps and small steps is a big thing,” he added.

Discussions with the council at a meeting of the Howard Estate Association of Residents and Tenants (HEART) last month is said to have been the turning point in terms of achieving a commitment for the fencing.

HEART chairman Ernie Broom said: “We have been pushing for it for a long time. Until we had the HEART meeting things weren’t moving.”

He added he would like to see more dog owners fined for not clearing up dog mess.

It is understood space will be made at the Oakes Road field for the annual fair.

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