Residents are concerned that a fence, which was put up in a Broadwater recreation ground used by a school following much opposition, is dissuading the public from using the green.
The fence was erected in Manor Sports and Recreation Ground in Broadwater to ensure that members of the public in the section used by Bohunt Academy students would have to put their dogs on a lead, to avoid disruption to lessons.
But Jane Granger, a 51-year-old barber whose Sompting Avenue home overlooks the park, fears that unclear signage on the fence has led to a ‘public misunderstanding’ – with residents believing the land is owned by the school and not for public use.
She said the green area had always been ‘well used and needed’ by residents, many of whom do not have gardens, and said: “It’s lovely land but it’s being wasted.
“People see a fence and a sign and they make an assumption.
“They think it’s private.”
Jane, who was part of the Manor Park Action Group which led the protest against the fence last year and gathered 900 signatures on a petition, said she has seen children playing football in a concrete car park because they did not realise the land could be used.
She and other residents believe signs on the fence should be made clearer.
She said: “I feel it would be disingenuous to not highlight the fact the Manor Ground is still very much a public green space to be used by everyone in the community.”
A Worthing Borough Council spokesman said there was a large welcome sign at the main entrance to the sports ground in Georgia Avenue and another at the pedestrian entrance in Broadwater Road, which both included maps showing where dogs were allowed.
Smaller signs elsewhere advise that dogs must be kept on a lead in that area.
After reviewing all of the signs on Tuesday, another small sign will be added near the Broadwater Road entrance ‘to further aid clarity’, the spokesman said.
The fence was put up at a cost of almost £30,000, paid for by West Sussex County Council.