Councillors vote on controversial dog plans in Great Yarmouth’s North Denes dunes

Dog walkers are angered by proposals to force pet owners to keep their dogs on leashes on North Dene

Dog walkers are angered by proposals to force pet owners to keep their dogs on leashes on North Denes. Picture: PDCphoto - Credit: Archant

There was applause as councillors voted to scrap plans to force dog owners to leash their pets at a popular walking spot.

Great Yarmouth borough council held a consultation into introducing a new order to control dogs.

Controversy was caused by a proposal to force dog owners to keep their pets in several areas, particular on the dunes at North Denes.

At a meeting on the borough's environment committee on Wednesday evening, councillors unanimously voted down the plan, and dogs will continue to be allowed to run free at the conservation area.

Dog walkers at North Denes campaigned against the proposals and the Great Yarmouth Mercury's press coverage and letters page was used in the evidence section in the report into the consultation.

Councillors Kay Grey, Alan Grey, Paula Waters-Bunn, and Shirley Weymouth declared an interest at the start of the meeting because they were dog owners themselves.

Ukip group leader Kay Grey was strongly against the plan. She said: 'There is more damage done by people leaving glass bottles and dirty nappies than a dog could do in its whole life.'

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The committee heard that 65pc of respondents to the consultation were against the plans.

Labour's Brian Walker said there was a huge response to the plan.

'If you are going to hold a consultation you need to listen to people – this is far to big a margin to ignore.'

Conservative James Bensly said the public's engagement with the consultation has been great.

He added: 'This is democracy, it is lovely to see public gallery so full.'

After the proposals were voted down and the public burst into applause, committee chairman Carl Smith joked that he had never heard so much clapping in the chamber before.

Other parts of the far reaching public space protection order were also voted on.

n Dog mess – Councillors voted for a proposal that would allow dog wardens or police officers the ability to fine dog walkers if they do not clean up after their dog on any publicly accessible land. This updates a current by-law and now includes any land which the public have access to.

n Controlling dogs – They also approved a plan to allow authorised council officers, police officers or PCSOs to be able to direct owners to leash their dogs anywhere in the borough if they are causing a nuisance.

Part of the proposal included banning dogs or requiring them to where a leash in several areas, however most of these were left unchanged from current rules.

n Leads requirements – New rules were agreed however for Great Yarmouth new and old cemeteries and the Caister borough cemetery will now have a leash requirement, overturning a total ban to reflect the fact they act as thoroughfares. Leashes will be required around children's play areas.

n Exclusion-Dog Ban – Dogs will be banned from fenced off playgrounds, the Gorleston cemeteries (except for mourners).