Fears shared cycle path in Heavitree Pleasure Ground will be 'disaster'
DOG owners have been angered by plans to put a cycle path through a city park.
They claim it will lead to conflict and accuse Devon County Council of not consulting properly about the scheme.
But the council says the city council carried out a consultation in June before the county council further consulted in November.
Some £120,000 is to be spent upgrading the path in Heavitree Pleasure Ground and making it shared use for pedestrians and cyclists.
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It will run from the Hanover Road entrance and follow the current northern path to emerge by the tennis courts at Whipton Lane.
Ian Johnson who walks his dog in the park says making the path suitable for cyclists is unnecessary and points out that there is a by-law preventing cycling in the park.
Mr Johnson said: "There has not been a proper consultation about this and it is riding roughshod over local opinion.
"It is a recipe for disaster.
"They are giving so much precedence to cyclists and if this goes ahead we will have to keep dogs on the lead all the time when they should have a run off the lead for at least 20 minutes a day."
Mr Johnson added: "Although there is a bylaw preventing cycling in the park a lot of these cyclists go around as though they own the place and go through too fast.
"Heavitree is a little oasis but this is going to create conflict."
With regard to the bylaw, a spokesman for the city council, said: "The city council's bylaws for parks and open spaces were last reviewed in 1990.
"In the intervening time the way people use their parks and playing fields has changed considerably, and it makes sense for the bylaws for all the parks to reflect this. Final approval has to come from the Local Government and Communities section of the government to achieve this."
A spokeswoman for the county council said: "The paths within Heavitree Pleasure Ground are currently in a poor condition and in need of renewal.
"Widening two of the existing peripheral paths to create a shared footpath and cycleway will link the area to the Exeter Cycle Network and provide safer routes to Heavitree Road and local schools and continue to encourage people to travel sustainably and reduce congestion in the city."
She added: "Widening the paths and creating a smoother surface will also benefit wheelchair users and families with push chairs."