Dogs on beaches – now it’s time to have your say!

dog friendly beach
This photo is for illustrative purposes only and is not necessarily representative of

DORSET Council has launched its public consultation on regulations for dogs in public spaces, including on beaches.

The subject of dogs on beaches has become one of the most controversial topics in Lyme Regis in recent months.

Under the current Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), dogs are allowed on Lyme’s main sandy beach and Cobb Gate shingle beach without a lead between October 1 and May 1. They previously had to be kept on leads at all times in these areas.

Monmouth, Church Cliff and East Cliff beaches remain open to dogs off leads throughout the year.

Lyme Regis Town Council has pushed for more stringent regulations on the town’s main beaches, with members requesting a complete ban of dogs all year round on the sandy beach and Cobb Gate shingle beach.

A petition opposing the town council’s view has received 7,880 signatures to date, online and in print, with some arguing a ban on dogs would have a negative effect on tourism, local businesses and would discriminate against disabled dog owners who find it difficult to access other local beaches.

The subject has also caused some of the most heated and vitriolic debates seen on local social media pages.

However, the final decision whether or not to change the current PSPO is down to Dorset Council, not the town council, and a 12-week public consultation on the subject has now been launched.

A statement from Dorset Council said the consultation “will help with the development of the new Dorset-wide dog-related Public Spaces Protection Order”.

Lyme Regis councillors have argued that the policy should not be county-wide and each town should be considered individually.

Councillor Tony Alford, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Customer, Community and Regulatory Services, said: “These orders are to make sure that everyone – with or without dogs – can safely enjoy public spaces.

“We want to hear a wide range of views from as many people as possible. We know that people hold very strong views on the topic and we aim to reflect a balanced and fair perspective within the new order.”

The survey will run until midnight on April 19 2020 and can be found online at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/dogspspo

Paper copies of the survey can be obtained at any one of Dorset Council’s libraries.  The survey can be made available in other formats and languages by calling 01305 252472.

Woodmead Halls
About Francesca Evans 1928 Articles
Francesca grew up in Lyme Regis and has worked in community journalism in the area since 2011, having gained a First Class Honours degree in journalism and her NCTJ qualifications at Southampton Solent University.

7 Comments

  1. I fully agree with the Lyme Regis Town Council proposal to ban dogs all year on the Cobb Gate and on the sandy main beach. Outside of the period October 1st to May 1st, it is just not safe to take children walking on either of these beaches. Some dog owners seem to think it’s perfectly acceptable to allow their animals to jump up to young children and my two boys have often felt frightened when this happens.

    I also feel that from May 2nd to September 30th, dogs should be banned from Monmouth beach. Owing to overcrowding on the other beaches in the Summer months, this beach should now be considered as child friendly area which unfortunately is now far from the case. Too many large and intimidating dogs harassing families. Families should now be able to enjoy this beautiful unspoilt area in peace.

    I would urge all local residents to put their views forward – don’t leave it just to the dog owning vocal minority.

  2. I fully agree with Mr Parks observations particularly suggesting that the proposed dog ban be extended to Monmouth Beach.

    In relation to the 4,000 signature petition opposing the Lyme Regis Town Council proposals, its worth examining the doubtful validity of the petition. The population of Lyme Regis is around 5,000. Given that some dog owners own 2,3 or more animals, this would imply that there are more dogs in the town than humans – perhaps as many as 6,000 to 7,000 if the organisers of the petition are to be believed!!

    If there are that many dogs around, I think the Council needs to acquire land outside the town boundaries where these animals can be exercised in a single location for the health and safety of all residents.

  3. The 4,000 petition looks a little unbelievable. A local dog owning friend reckons there are probably around 500 resident dogs, although judging from the amount of dog excrement on pavements and other public spaces it feels more like 3,000.

  4. Its stretching credibility a bit far to believe that the petition of 4,000 signatures has been from the roughly 3,000 adults living in Lyme Regis !!

  5. Apparently the petition which two days ago stood at 4,000 has now almost doubled – absolutely amazing!

    That implies that every adult and child living in Lyme and Uplyme has signed the petition. I think it’s time someone had a closer look at it.

    • Sorry, we actually got the figure wrong and were corrected this morning. The petition both online and in print stands at a total of 7,880 signatures. The petition has been signed by many visitors as well as residents.
      Francesca – Editor, LymeOnline

      • How many are local residents and how many of the signatures are visitors. Given that we are in the winter it’s unlikely that there would be many visitors.

        Has Lyme Online carried out any checks on the petition for example? You would expect the some validation to take place.

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