LETTER: ‘Dog fouling’ smokescreen to stop people entering CRGS grounds

I AM writing in response to your article “School’s bid to tackle dog fouling” (September 15th), in which Clitheroe Royal Grammar School explain their reasons for blocking access to land off Chatburn Road.

The main thrust of their argument is a “significant increase in dog fouling”. Well, I’ve been walking my dog there for 15 years and have noticed no increase in dog fouling, indeed this is one of the cleaner environments in the area.

Is it a coincidence, I wonder, this drive to exclude the public has coincided with the school becoming an academy, as no doubt the land around the school is now on a long lease (typically 125 years) from Lancashire County Council? Conspiracy theorists among the walking community speculate about a possible hidden agenda whereby getting rid of the irritant of public access is a prelude to the land being used for other purposes.

I wouldn’t know about that, but it seems strange no-one at the school has made a fuss until now.

The Chatburn Road fields are spacious, scenic and peaceful. Most dog walkers use the stile-to-stile route or carry on along the top edge of the fields. This is well away from any marked out play areas. It seems to go against the grain that, in an age where we are all encouraged to exercise more, areas of land under school management that are used for only a fraction of the year should be barred from public access.

In our crowded land, particularly in urban areas, we should be looking to use open spaces as fully as possible. We also shouldn’t forget that, academy or not, Clitheroe Royal Grammar School is funded by public money, hence those same people who walk with their dogs across the fields are helping to pay for their upkeep.

JOHN DICKINSON,

Pimlico Road,

Clitheroe