A popular park’s play area could be fenced off in a bid to stop dogs urinating on the equipment after health and safety fears were raised by concerned residents and councillors.

There are currently no measures in place to stop dogs getting into the play area at Wooburn Park – and the parish council will now look at erecting a fence to keep dogs from going to the toilet on or near the equipment used by families.

It comes after dozens of residents pleaded with councillors to add some sort of separation between the playground and the rest of the park in a survey.  

Cllr Mike Balbini said park-users are “getting annoyed” with dogs climbing on play equipment and weeing on or up the side of it.

He said: “When a dog cocks its leg, it is at the hand height of a toddler. Families are more annoyed with that than the dog poo. They just want separation – a lot of people are saying we need to go back to the time when we had a fence there.

“I also saw a Terrier run across and steal a sausage from a family’s picnic and it ran off. I went over and asked what they thought of it, and they said it happens all the time. They said a fence would make a difference.

“People are subjected to this and it’s a shame. They know we look after our areas, but we let ourselves down when we are not seen to listen when they clearly say they want a separation.”

Cllr Sue Wagner added: “Some people actually put their dogs on the equipment. I saw one on the slide that was so frightened, it weed down the slide.”

The play area used to be fenced off, but it was vandalised multiple times.

Cllr Michael Reeves said he had always been “vehemently against” fencing off the play area, but said his mind was being changed.

He said: “Dogs peeing up the side of equipment is not something you consider.

“The issue we have a lot of the times are the professional dog walkers, with four or five dogs, not on leads, that they can’t control. That is why we need to keep looking at the issue.”

Cllr Margaret Marshall said the parish council could consider banning dogs from the park altogether.

She said: “We have explored lots of things and one of the most successful was when we considered banning dogs completely from our open spaces and for a while, everyone was very good at cleaning up after their dogs.

“I was all for fencing all our play areas off when I first came on the council but after talking to other people and doing training, the thinking is that children have to take risks. It sounds awful because no one wants to put their children at risk, but we have freer movement of space.

“We have tried to keep dog owners away from the play areas, but children can actually be safer in an un-fenced area. Parents need to be responsible for their children. We don’t fence the whole length of the river and they are at risk there.”

Caroline Meechan, a Wooburn resident who was part of a working group to look at the problem, agreed that a fence was a better option than banning dog owners from the park.

She said: “It is a real shame because everyone really loves our open spaces and we can’t start telling people they can’t go there. We should be able to live together. Perhaps some sort of separation will help that.

“If there is a dog in a fenced-off play area, it is much easier to say ‘excuse me, your dog needs to be outside’.”