Little Bookham resident, Kirsten Asmussen, raised an important issue about dogs and some unpleasant and damaging incidents on Bookham Common on social media which created a lot of comments and concerns from residents.
As a result, the BRA, Friends of Bookham Common, Bookham Councillors and representatives of the National Trust (NT) have met several times via video conferences to discuss the problems and what could be done to improve the situation. Unfortunately a key NT member, Ian Swinney who is the Ranger on Bookham Common, is furloughed so we are missing his valuable local knowledge and input but hopefully Ian will be back at work soon.
Several themes have emerged:
- Dogs and their attacks or interference with wild life
- frightening of young children
- the inadequate clearance of public rubbish and dog waste bins, not only on Bookham Common but also Norbury Park and around the village.
Kirsten wanted to investigate what enforceable actions might be taken and Councillors have reviewed this with the relevant MVDC Joint Enforcement Team (JET).
The Friends of Bookham Common in association with the NT are working on increasing signage on the Common and finding ways of more education of the NT “Canine Code”.
The BRA in turn have worked with MVDC to explore ways of improving the ability for all of us to report problems simply via the MVDC web site. MVDC have implemented this and in addition to simplify reporting there are buttons on the BRA web site home page that take you straight to the relevant reporting page. This feature has been optimised for mobile devices so it is easy to report when you see something that requires attention.
All reports are recorded and provide evidence for MVDC to either ensure their contractors take action and also improve their own activities.
These meetings have been fruitful but this is only the start of an education programme and more meetings will take place to see what we can do to ensure all residents can enjoy our open spaces.
It is worth noting it is up to all of us to ensure that our dogs are under control at all times, we all do not leave litter or dog mess and we all take great care of this precious asset of Bookham Common which was bought for the village in the 1940’s.