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Letter: Grazing Cattle in Riverside Walk Clashes With Official SANG Guidelines

Published on: 20 May, 2021
Updated on: 20 May, 2021

From: Frank Phillipson

In response to: What’s More Important to Our Council, Cash for Cattle, or Caring for Disabled?

Having tried to negotiate these double-gate nightmares myself on a borrowed mobility scooter, I know they are impossible to get through unless you have someone walking with you, or you can find a kind passer-by.

These obstructive gates are there because cattle are being grazed. But Riverside Park is designated by Guildford Borough Council as a “Suitable Accessible Natural Greenspace” (SANG), providing alternative green space to divert people from visiting the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area (SPA) site of nature conservation importance, for example Whitmoor Common.

Natural England’s survey guidelines for a SANG states: “The bulk of visitors to the SPA came to exercise their dogs, so it is imperative SANGs allow for pet-owners to let dogs run freely over a significant part of the walk.

“Appendix 1: Site quality checklist for an individual SANG. The wording in the list below is precise and has the following meaning: requirements referred to as ‘must’ are essential in all SANGs. Must-haves: Access within the SANG must be largely unrestricted with plenty of space provided where it is possible for dogs to exercise freely and safely off-lead.”

Clearly, having cattle grazing is not compatible with the officially stated purpose of a SANG.

In addition, cattle pose a significant risk to people because they can become inquisitive and also block pathways. If panicked, it is possible they may rush down the narrow paths either side of the lake, a situation which has occurred before. In those locations there is no escape route except into the lake, or get trampled.

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test 2 Responses to Letter: Grazing Cattle in Riverside Walk Clashes With Official SANG Guidelines

  1. Colin Cross Reply

    May 22, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    So who is putting up these signs and on whose authority?

    Colin Cross is the R4GV borough councillor for Lovelace.

  2. Ross Connell Reply

    May 24, 2021 at 11:19 am

    The same situation prevails in the Chantry fields. These fields have recently been subject to extensive and expensive fencing and gates. Moreover, the time periods that cattle graze in these fields is variable with precise and specific dates being advised.

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