‘Bouncer’ patrols anger dog walkers

NNAC12-1500-1''Mansfield Berry Hill Park
NNAC12-1500-1''Mansfield Berry Hill Park

A dog-owner who walks her pet at Berry Hill Park has voiced concerns over security staff enforcing new dog control rules on the much-loved recreation ground.

Jenny Whitehead says she and her husband feel intimidated by the presence of the transit van which can be seen driving around the paths in the park.

Nearby residents attended a meeting held by a representative of the board of trustees of Berry Hill Park Ltd - which runs the park for charity the Berry Hill Welfare Trust - last week.

Jenny, who lives in Berry Hill, said: “I spoke to people who were present at the meeting, which was not very well publicised, who expressed their concerns and were worried about what may happen if they refused to comply with the rules.

“What is more worrying is that I have just seen one of the so-called bouncers and find it quite disturbing that people of such like that are being used to supervise decent law abiding members of the public in an area they have been using for years for the purpose of walking their dogs.”

Under the trustees’s new rules, dogs are prohibited from the grassed areas and must be on leads at all times.

Mother-of-one Jenny added: “The vast majority of people have been walking there dogs here all their lives and it is quite an oppressive feeling - like having ‘Big Brother’ watching you.

“I understand it is a privately-owned park but there has never been the need for anyone patrolling it before.”

Berry Hill Park has been the focus of much debate recently after resident athletic club Mansfield Harriers lost its battle with the trustees to stay at the park.

The club and the trustees’s inability to reach agreement over disputed payments ended in the clubs eviction.

Chad made several attempts to make contact with the board of trustees by phone and in person but no comment was forthcoming.

Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton said: “There have been a lot of issues with security lately at the park which have meant increased security measures but I think no longer having a resident club has not helped.

“There was always activity there before so people did not break in to cause trouble.”

David Fisher, of Friends of Berry Hill Park, said: “The park is privately-owned.

“We are hoping to set up a meeting with the board of trustees but this comes under the umbrella of how they get the best facilities in the park for the benefit of all who use it.”