Agenda and minutes

Community Forum (Whitehill & Bordon, Liphook, Headley, Grayshott, Lindford & Greatham)
Tuesday, 24th October, 2017 6.30 pm

Venue: Liphook Millennium Centre, 2 Ontario Way, Liphook, Hampshire GU30 7LD. View directions

Contact: James Harris  Democratic Services Officer - 01730 234098

Items
No. Item

8.

Apologies for Absence

To receive and record apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors A Carew, R Millard, B Mouland and R Standish.

9.

Confirmation of Minutes

Please note that it is helpful if Councillors could give advance notice, to Democratic Services, of any questions they wish to raise in respect of the Minutes.

 

Minutes of the last meeting held on 20 June 2017, previously circulated.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 20 June 2017 were agreed and signed as a correct record.

10.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements the Chairman may wish to make for information.

Minutes:

There were no Chairman’s announcements.

11.

Declarations of Interest

To receive and record any declarations of interest from members present in respect of any of the various matters on the agenda for this meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

12.

Paws For Thought - are you a responsible pet owner?

Residents are encouraged to participate in a panel style discussion, introduced by EHDC’s award winning Animal Welfare Team. 

 

A broad range of topics will be discussed, including hints and tips on the best way to look after your pet and issues surrounding irresponsible pet ownership, such as nuisance dog barking.

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced Patricia Bland, who gave a short presentation on Pets as Therapy.  Pets as Therapy was a charity formed in 1983 where volunteers took animals, mostly dogs, to visit people in various establishments, such as hospitals, care homes and schools.

 

Nationally there were 6,000 volunteers and 130 in the area that she co-ordinated, which covered parts of East Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex.

 

The dogs brought joy to the elderly, often stirring happy memories for those with dementia.  The read2dogs scheme in schools allowed young people who were nervous about reading aloud the opportunity to read to a dog.  Dogs did not judge and this less stressful environment often paid dividends in improving the confidence and speech of previously reluctant readers.

 

The Chairman introduced David Fitzgerald, Environmental Protection Manager, who gave an overview of The Animal Welfare Team and the Environmental Protection Team’s work around noise nuisance.

 

The Animal Welfare Team had recently won three gold awards out of a possible four at the national RSPCA Community Animal Welfare Footprint Awards for the care of stray dogs, contingency planning and the regulation of animal boarding businesses.  The work of the team was often thought to just be collecting stray dogs, but in reality it encompassed a lot more.  The team’s work included dealing with aggressive dogs, licensing sites across the district, regulating zoos and identifying sellers to ensure that they are licensed.  This increasingly included sellers who operated online via sites such as Gumtree.

 

With regard to dogs barking, the Council had a duty to investigate such complaints under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.  For action to be taken, it had to be proven that the noise was a Statutory Noise Nuisance and “considered to be unreasonable to the average person and something that is more than an annoyance.”  99 such cases had been investigated by the team to date since January 2017.

 

Evidence could be gathered by individuals using ‘the noise app’, which was free to download onto a smartphone.  This recorded noise and allowed the complainant to comment on the impact that it was having.  These reports were submitted directly to the council and assisted the team in deciding whether or how best to investigate. 

 

If the officer was satisfied that a Statutory Noise Nuisance had been proven, a Noise Abatement Notice would be served.  This notice specified the steps required to address the issue and the time period for them to be implemented.

 

To date, Noise Abatement Notices had been effective in the district with regard to dog barking and there had been no prosecutions.  Prosecution would be considered if the problem continued, although the noise nuisance had to be proven beyond all reasonable doubt. If convicted, the Magistrates Court could impose an unlimited fine and a Criminal Behaviour Order could be applied.  If breached, a Criminal Behaviour Order prevented the need to go back to court and the conditions applied anywhere the individual resided within the UK.

 

In response to questions, it was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Public Question Time

Minutes:

Mr Maroney, a Liphook resident, asked what the Council’s views were on the draft Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s proposals for East Hampshire.

 

Following the meeting, it was confirmed that the Council was considering the Commission’s proposals and how to respond in time for the Commission’s December deadline.