Compromise reached over proposed extension to dog ban on Southwold beach
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Compromise has been reached over proposals to extend the ban on dogs at the beach of a coastal town with community leaders agreeing a shorter exclusion time period.
The contentious issue brought much public reaction after an initial proposal suggested dogs would not be permitted on the whole of the beach at Southwold for eight months of the year – between March and October 31.
While on the promenade dogs would be required to be kept on leads all year round - including the area behind the huts immediately to the north of the Gun Hill café.
However, during a Waveney District Council cabinet meeting, held this evening, cabinet members voted unanimously in favour of changes which will see dogs banned for only six months of the year.
Michael Ladd, Waveney District Council cabinet member for tourism, economic development and rural affairs said: 'It's a very good compromise and during this period we have seen the formation of the Southwold & Reydon Dog Owners Group (SARDOG) which has been good to see.
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'I understand the dog owners group wished to make an amendment to see the ban introduced between 8am and 8pm- it is a bit late to put that timescale into place at this stage but I would like to think in a year or so this could be looked at.'
These changes represent a one month increase from the ban currently in place and will be imposed from April 1 to September 30 with the proposal to have dogs on the promenade being kept on leads all year round remaining unchanged.
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In a report, councillor Stephen Ardley, cabinet member for operational partnerships and Lowestoft Rising, said the council had reviewed its dog control orders following changes to the Anti Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.
These changes meant the previous summertime ban would lapse and the council was now required to put in place a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).
Proposals for PSPOs to replace these controls were published for consultation in August 2016 running for four weeks During this period more than 300 people contacted Waveney District Council and an online campaign saw the formation of the protest group SARDOG.
Charlotte Pither, from SARDOG, said: 'Since the consultation closed we have been continuing to fight for maximum but fair access for dog walkers.
'I came here thinking it would be quite disappointing knowing the 8am to 8pm amendment could not be included, but we are definitely happier with what has happened now compared to what was initially put forward.'
For more information on SARDOG visit: www.sardog.co.uk