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Plans to relax the beach dog bans in Cornwall rejected

Plans to relax the beach dog bans in Cornwall rejected

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 7:00am 18th January 2020. (Updated at 9:34am 18th January 2020)

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

New restrictions for when dogs can be taken on beaches in Cornwall have been backed by councillors.

However plans to relax the current restrictions were rejected by councillors.

Cornwall Council currently has 45 public space protection orders (PSPOs) in place across Cornwall which restrict when dogs can be taken on those beaches.

The current PSPOs are due to expire and so Cornwall Council has to put new ones in place and took the opportunity to ask the public for views on the restrictions.

It brought the biggest response to any council consultation with more than 13,000 responses.

The PSPOs only cover 45 beaches in Cornwall – 15% of the 300 in the county – with 23 owned by the council and 22 privately owned.

Under the recommendation to councillors the council was looking to harmonise the restrictions – current restrictions differ from beach to beach.

The recommended restrictions were from 10am to 5pm from July 1st to August 31st. For Blue Flag beaches the restrictions would apply from May 15th to September 30th.

dogs on beach ldrs

 

However at a meeting of the council’s neighbourhoods overview and scrutiny committee councillors decided that it would be better to have harmonised restrictions across the board and asked that the restrictions be in place from May 15th to September 30th.

They also asked to extend the hours and set them at 10am to 6pm.

Cllr Martyn Alvey said he was “uncomfortable” with the recommendations and there needed to be more consideration for non-dog owners.

He said: “It is irresponsible dog owners who are the problem, not responsible ones.”

The Feock and Playing Place councillor proposed that the restrictions should operate from May 15th to September 30th for all beaches.

Cllr Ian Thomas said the proposals would not be harmonisation as they were different for Blue Flag beaches and suggested that the restrictions should apply from May 15th to September 30th and from 9am to 6pm each day.

Newquay councillor John Fitter said he felt that the recommendation was “a very fair result for all parties”.

He said it was a myth that relaxing the restrictions would result in “vast amounts of dog mess on beaches”.

“The vast majority of people pick up,” he added. “There is a beach in my area that has total freedom all year round. They have dog bins and they are used to capacity.”

Cllr Fitter said the recommendation had been drawn up in response to the consultation and it was important to listen to what had been said.

He said: “The consultation has come down to this fair result and I think this is a very fair result for all parties.”

dog on beach 3

 

Cabinet member and St Ives councillor Andrew Mitchell said he felt that some of the questions on the survey were “leading” and criticised it for not having an option to maintain the status quo.

Cllr Mitchell said that last time he had commented on the issue he had attracted a number of “attacks” from both sides of the debate.

He said he was not surprised that respondents to the survey were two-to-one dog owners or “alleged to be dog owners”.

But he said he felt that the recommendation to relax restrictions had “gone too far”.

Councillor John Pollard said he felt that the Blue Flag standard “is the best standard that we should all want to achieve”.

For that reason he felt it would be better for the dates for restrictions to be the same from May 15th to September 30th.

The committee voted to recommend to Cabinet member Rob Nolan that the new PSPOs operate from May 15th to September 30th and from 10am to 6pm. There were nine votes in favour and four against.

Under the proposals the new restrictions will come into force this year.

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