New bylaws to protect parks unanimously agreed

Published: Thursday 22nd February 18

New bylaws are being proposed throughout Wandsworth to protect the borough’s parks from criminal damage, anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

Contrary to recent misinformed reports the new bylaws have nothing to do with curtailing childrens’ enjoyment in any way and will help the council run its parks effectively as possible for the enjoyment all residents, especially children.

Last night the council's General Purposes Committee unanimously agreed to recommend the new bylaws to replace the current outdated ones that exist in Coronation Gardens, Furzedown Recreation Ground, Garratt Park, King George's Park, Leaders Gardens, Swaby Gardens and Tooting Gardens. 

The new Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) model bylaws are already adopted by 14 other local authorities in London and will be used to cover a further 35 parks and open spaces across the borough, including old burial grounds and sports grounds, that currently are not protected by any bylaws.

Councillor Jonathan Cook, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “The existing Wandsworth bylaws that relate to our parks date back many decades and simply aren’t relevant for 2018. 

“For example one of the bylaws forbids cattle, sheep and goats being taken into our parks. We need modern bylaws in place that will help us to best look after, maintain and preserve our wonderful park resources.

“A lot has been made of these changes but the reality is that all we are doing is bringing the bylaws for our parks and open spaces into the 21st century, replicating what has already been done across much of London.”

He added: “This is all about applying the bylaws in a sensible and common sense way. Stopping a child from flying a kite or climbing a tree, as has been suggested in some quarters this week, certainly will not be how we want to see the bylaws used and it’s important to us that families and children feel they can use our parks for leisure activities and play freely. We want as many people as possible to enjoy our parks.”

Inspector Steve Biggs who helps police Wandsworth’s parks spoke at the meeting and stressed that having carried out his role for almost 30 years neither he or any of his colleagues had ever stopped children from playing in parks – and that included tree climbing and kite flying.

He said: “The service has not reported any child for flying a kite, climbing trees or playing ball games. We actively encourage parents to come along and enjoy our facilities. It’s all about common sense.”

The committee agreed that under the new bylaws this would continue and under-18s would not be fined as part of the enforcement policy.

• The changes proposed won't apply to Battersea Park, Garratt Green, Tooting Common, Wandsworth Common and Wandsworth Park, which are already covered by Greater London Council bylaws

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Recent comments

Given that Wandsworth Council’s leadership is already embroiled in corruption and sexual harassment charges, this is just an attempt to distract the masses from the criminals at the top of the borough.

31 March 2018

I'm confused. As I understand it, the bylaws impose a potentially substantial fine if a person 'shall, without reasonable excuse, climb any wall or fence on or enclosing the land, or any tree, or any barrier, railing, post or other structure.' I understand that parks police can use their discretion — but what if they decide not to? I can't afford the risk. Is this a bylaw or not?
Sam Dutton

28 February 2018

There is no mention of Wimbledon Park, what is the situation there? Park patrol in this Park is non-exsistent especially when people continually have BBQs on the grass areas leaving rubbish on the grass and playing football on the large one and only field! I am aware it 'shared' between Wandsworth & Merton Councils, but that says it all!!
Mrs R Kelly

28 February 2018

More Cook manipulation and half truths.

28 February 2018

I have just read a very strong proposal on an issue of saving our Parks' and Recreation Facilities, to encourage all Families with Children to enjoy the fresh air outdoors and getting out and about in the open exploring at their leisure. All household Pets should be encouraged to enjoy Countryside and being sensible being kept on a lead when approaching Horses and Cattle etc etc . I wonder if it's possible to have a course of Safeguarding Household Pets' and explore all options around the whole Countryside in keeping to the rules/regulations as a bylaw?
Brigid Craig

27 February 2018

oh look another income generating scheme, we are being robbed daily by these councils using made up schemes and powers that never existed in the past with the sole purpose to generate income wbc profiteering again while pleading poverty. not happy with extorting money from leaseholders for poor standard overpriced works.

27 February 2018

I have noticed that a number of dog owners pick up their dog's mess but then drop the bag rather than finding a bin or taking it home. This is taking place not just in parks but in streets throughout the borough. . Incidentally there are still some owners who don't even pick up. Can these antisocial dog owners be fined?
Lyra Cross

25 February 2018

I am glad animal grazing laws are being repealed. About time we were allowed to graze our animals on Tooting Common again. The only animals making use of the grass are the geese and these are not domesticated.
Ed Jason

24 February 2018

In view of the adverse comment on social media can we please see the new by-laws. A link would have been helpful.
Jacquie Nunn

24 February 2018

So, were is this text? How can you write so much about the new bylaws without giving a link to the text?
Jerome Abela

23 February 2018

At last! Londoners are allowed to have normal kids! Well done!
John Langdon

23 February 2018

If the changes are just sensible ones bringing the bylaws into the 21st century, please provide a link to the bylaws and let us read them!
Carol Rahn

23 February 2018