Lyme Regis Town Council to review dogs on beach policy after 'demonisation' claims

WHAT DOES IT MEAN? A dog notice in Lyme Regis

ENFORCE: Mark Gage

REVIEW: Lucy Campbell

First published in News

LYME Regis Town Council will review its dogs on the beach policy following a number of complaints.

Coun Mark Gage said he felt dogs were being ‘demonised’ by the council.

Members of the council’s town management committee discussed the restrictions that are currently in place, which bans dogs from being let off the lead all year on Front Beach, and agreed to review the whole policy at the next town management meetings.

The item was first discussed after operations manager Elliot Herbert presented a report on the incidents council staff dealt with during the Christmas and New Year period, with council staff reporting many issues with dogs not on leads.

Coun Lucy Campbell told the committee of a complaint she had received from a member of the public, who had asked some dog walkers to put their dogs on leads, which led to a disagreement.

Councillors then discussed the current policy of walking dogs on the town’s beaches which bans dogs from Front Beach between April 1 and October 31, and means they should be on a lead at all times on the beach between November 1 and March 31.

Coun Mark Gage said: “When the laws were first introduced, there was a lack of wisdom in putting rules in place that we cannot enforce.

“I think we have gone too far and demonised dogs. I would be happy to review it. It is something we don’t have or will have the resources to fully police.”

Coun Campbell added: “I would be happy to review it but I don’t think dogs should be on front beach. It is not suitable for dogs to be on there full stop.”

Coun Anita Williams said: “I am not in favour of dogs on the sandy beach. They have got plenty of beaches to walk on. The beaches available for dogs to be walked on at the moment is about right.

“The signage is a problem. I have stood there for ages trying to figure it out.”

Coun Chris Clipson agreed with Coun Williams that the signs caused confusion, and asked if there was the possibility of installing more signs on the beaches, directing people to which beaches they could walk their dogs on.

Mr Herbert said: “I think that if we were to install more signs, we would be in danger of installing signs that tell people to read the other signs.”

The next scheduled town management committee meeting is on February 26.

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