The Parish Council owns and manages this largest area of open-space in the parish – 25 acres of land alongside the Doley Brook. The Parish Council has managed The Acres since it acquired the land in 1979 and has extensive experience of recreational management. A children’s play park was created and football pitches laid out on the former meadows. Unfortunately two of the pitches had to be abandoned because of flooding, so new facilities were focussed on the higher land on the eastern part of the site. A football 5-aside pitch was created and funding from the Big Lottery Fund accessed for a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA). The Parish Council will be considering proposals in 2018 to illuminate the MUGA to extend the time it can be used. These facilities have proved extremely successful and are in constant use.
In 2012 the Parish Council developed a successful £130k Regeneration Project for the Acres - incorporating new interpretation facilities, seating, a picnic area and a footpath/boardwalk across the floodplain. It carried out this work in consultation with local stakeholders and community groups. The success of the project has been recognised through a number of environmental and community awards, and the site is regularly used now for sports events such as the Gnosall 5K Charity Run and Family Fun Days
Gnosall Parish Council plans for new leisure to be located on The Acres
Much of the site is a wetland within the floodplain, designated as a Site of Biological Importance and managed by the Parish Council to enhance its wildlife and community interest. However, approximately five acres along the eastern edge of this green space (alongside Brookhouse Road) lies above the floodplain and is utilised for community sports and recreational facilities.
At the southern end of this strip is located a play park, Multi Use Games Area, grassed football pitch and a basketball court. The proposed site for a new facilities is adjacent to the basketball court.
Since last Autumn, when an appreciable decrease in dog faeces was achieved and as a result contributed in part to Gnosall winning the Best Kept Village in Staffordshire, it has been noticed and commented on by many Villagers that there has been a sharp increase in incidences of irresponsible dog owners not clearing up after their pets. This is most prevalent in the High Street, Cross Street, grass verges along the A518 and unbelievably within a few yards of the bins on the Village Green.
This could well coincide with dogs having been taken on at Christmas and inexperienced owners walking their new pets. However, this is still no excuse. If your dog defecates in the street, or on the Greenway or indeed anywhere, it is your responsibility to clear it up. Perhaps, these owners both old and new need to be educated into the ways of responsible dog ownership. Several of the campaign notices have been vandalised / taken down and this is clearly unacceptable, they are there for a purpose and to serve as a reminder.
Remember, anyone found not to be clearing up after their dog will be served a Fixed Penalty Notice of £75.00 (and if this isn't paid by the due date it will increase in steps up to £1000 and a court appearance).
The Stafford Borough Council Enforcement Team will be patrolling the Village and the Greenway, but if you witness someone not clearing up, then you are at liberty to report them to the Parish Council or the Enforcement Team at SBC. If your report culminates in a successful prosecution, you could receive the amount the person has been fined. However, I would point out not to put yourself in danger, if or when, approaching anyone.
The Parish Council don't wish to appear to be coming down hard on these individuals and would much rather offer advice, education and free dog poo bags!
The vast majority of dog owners in the village are responsible owners. I know, because I have seen them cleaning up after their pets. We all need to make a big effort to educate and encourage those few irresponsible ones in good practices.
Emergency dog poo bags are available for free at the Parish Office (behind the Grosvenor Centre) and the Bakery in Wharf Road.
On a personal note, since I have taken on responsibility for heading up the campaign for the Parish Council, I have been approached on three occasions and received a verbal lambasting each time concerning my dislike / hatred of dogs. Those of you who know me will understand just how far from the truth this is. I currently have two of my own and have been involved with training dogs and owners for over 40 years, 29 of these years at Church Eaton.