Dogs banned from new Hazelbank sensory garden

Councillors have agreed to ban dogs from a new sensory garden at Hazelbank Park in Newtownabbey.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 5:46 pm

The £30,000 fully accessible sensory garden funded by the Department for Communities Access and Inclusion Programme has been designed to stimulate the senses and to provide a quiet enclosed space suitable for those with special needs.

It was opened in May in an enclosed area at Hazelbank Park in Whiteabbey, beside the pavilion and features raised beds, a sandpit, seating and a range of sensory equipment.

The amendment to the Dogs Exclusion (Newtownabbey Borough Council, Children’s play parks and recreation grounds) Order 2012 aims to reflected this change of use. It means that dogs will be excluded from the sensory garden with the exception of assistance dogs.

The Hazelbank Sensory Garden in Newtownabbey

A number of Dog Control Orders are currently active in the borough and determine where dogs must be kept on a lead, can be exercised off-lead or excluded from certain public areas, such as council-owned parks.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb said; “We are continually working to make our council facilities and services more accessible for those with additional needs.

“Sensory gardens can be a very therapeutic and calming place, helping to improve physical fitness, health and mood and extending our Dogs Exclusion Order to this sensory garden will ensure our users can enjoy a more tranquil experience in a quiet area within a popular park.”

The council’s Operations Committee has agreed to draw up a litter action plan to address all types on on-street littering including dog fouling.

According to Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’s Cleaner Neighbourhoods Report, just eight penalties were issued for dog fouling in Antrim and Newtownabbey in 2018/19.

by Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter