LYME Regis councillors have reiterated their desire for dogs to be banned from the town’s sandy beach and Cobb Gate shingle beach all year round.
Following the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) by the now defunct West Dorset District Council in October 2017, dogs are currently allowed on Lyme’s main sandy beach without a lead between October 1 and May 1.
Lyme Regis Town Council objected to the PSPO when it was first introduced, with members arguing that dogs should be kept on leads, and a number of complaints from the public about dogs defecating, urinating and being out of control on the sandy beach have also been received.
Following an incident in which a 12-year-old boy was bitten by a dog on the beach in December 2018, further calls for reconsideration of the policy were made, as well as suggestions of a complete ban of dogs from the sandy beach.
However, the suggestion of a complete ban has proved controversial with some dog owners, who have said it is unfair to penalise well-behaved dogs and owners who clean up after their pets.
The PSPO, now enforced by the new Dorset Council, is due to expire and be reconsidered in October 2020, but Dorset Council has now said it plans to extend it for an additional six weeks until December 31 2020 for internal logistical reasons.
This announcement sparked another debate on dogs in the Lyme Regis Town Council chamber, where members reiterated their call for an all-year-round ban on both the sandy beach and Cobb Gate shingle beach.
Councillor Michaela Ellis said: “I think we need to go back to Dorset Council and say we want a policy that is suitable for us as a seaside town.
“We had to go along with a policy last time when it was West Dorset District Council, there was no consultation and it does not suit what we need here in this town.”
The Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Brian Larcombe MBE, said: “I would like to see the extension of the dog ban to all year round on the sandy beach and the front shingle beach.”
Councillor Larcombe also asked if they could explore banning dogs from the cemetery, but was told they could not as this was a public footpath.
He then requested that low height fencing be installed either side of the cemetery footpath leading up to Henry’s Way, as he said this was where the main problem with dog’s mess was, and this will now be considered at a future meeting.
Referring to dogs on the beach, Councillor Ellis continued: “It just causes problems with children, it’s the conflict of it. The pebble beach does not get washed and I dread to think what people could pick up from there.
“There are beaches either side that people can use to take their dogs and many other places in the town.”
Deputy town clerk Mark Green said he would relay members’ comments to Dorset Council, and they would likely receive a formal consultation on the policy next year before it expires.