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‘Sneaky’ claim over New Forest car park closures

Dog owners have accused the Forestry Commission of deliberately misleading the public over controversial proposals to close nearly a quarter of the New Forest car parks over winter.

When the move was announced at a meeting of the New Forest Consultative Council, members were told in writing that the closure would be "from the end of October until mid/end of March".

However, signs have already gone up at many of the 31 car parks involved announcing that closures begin from October 1.

"This is just adding insult to injury," said the chairman of New Forest Dog Owners Group Pauline Ludlow, who was at the Consultative Council meeting.

"It was bad enough when they presented it to us as a fait accompli, with absolutely no question of any consultation. Now, they have sneaked in an extra month of closure. They are acting in what seems to be a high-handed manner and it is no way to treat all of us who use the Forest."

NFDOG, which represents the interests of responsible dog walkers, has sent a formal protest about the proposal to the Forestry Commission, who want to reduce wear and tear on the car parks during the bad weather. It is encouraging its members to send individual letters to Deputy Surveyor Mike Seddon at the Forestry Commission headquarters, The Queen’s House, Lyndhurst, SO43 7NH if they feel strongly on the issue. It is also inviting angry dog walkers who are not members to join NFDOG to add weight to the campaign.

Mrs Ludlow said: "We object because it penalises local residents and seems to be pandering to the tourists. When the tourist season resumes next Easter, they will not suffer the inconvenience we have been through all winter.”

NFDOG membership secretary Penny Gayler can be contacted on 01425 622736 to obtain application forms. Alternatively, they are available on the group’s website,