New rules will see dogs kept on leads on Lyme’s main beach

dog on beach

DORSET Council has agreed that dogs will now have to be kept on a lead on Lyme Regis’ main beach during winter. 

The council’s Cabinet has approved recommendations about its dog-related restrictions in public spaces following months of debate and argument.

Under the new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), dogs will be excluded from the sand beach and Cobb Gate shingle beach in Lyme Regis between May 1 to September 30. However, they will now have to be kept on a lead outside period, having previously been allowed to run loose during the winter months.

The argument over whether dogs should be allowed on the town’s main beach has been one of the most hotly-debated local topics in recent years.

Lyme Regis Town Council pushed for an all-year-round ban of dogs from the sand and shingle beach. Their concerns came from a number of complaints about dog’s mess found on the beach and they were heightened following an incident in which a 12-year-old boy was bitten by a dog on the beach in December 2018.

However, a well-supported petition was launched against an all-year-round ban and Dorset Council has now rejected this proposal.

Other Lyme Regis beaches including Monmouth, Church Cliff and East Cliff beaches remain unaffected by the restrictions.

In Charmouth, dogs will not be restricted at all on East Beach (under Evans Cliff) but will be excluded from West Beach from May 1 to September 30, but can be off lead outside this period.

Dorset Council’s decision on the PSPO follows a public consultation that gathered views from residents, visitors, businesses and other organisations.

A total of 8,602 responses were received – 83% of responses were from local residents, with 15% from visitors and 2% other organisations, 64% of responses came from dog owners and 36% from non-dog owners, while 6.6% of the respondents considered they had a disability.

The new PSPO harmonises the exclusion period on specific beaches across the county, a suggestion which received significant support in the consultation.

Dogs will now also have to be kept on leads in public formal gardens, council-owned car parks and within five metres of marked sports pitches

Dorset Council said the reason for implementing a dog-related PSPO on specific beaches and open spaces was to keep them free from dog fouling and safe to use by residents and visitors.

It added that insisting dogs remain on leads in particular areas meant that owners would have adequate control over their dogs, and would be able to see if dogs foul or cause other issues.

Cllr Jill Haynes, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Customer and Community Services said: “This has been an extensive consultation with a good cross section of people.

“I am very pleased that we have been able to implement the order according to the thoughts of most respondents.

“The harmonised exclusions on selected beaches across the council’s area is  a sensible compromise for dog owners and those who don’t have dogs.”

Dorset Council hope that the new order will be enforceable by December 31 2020 but this is subject to six-week appeal period.

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Woodmead Halls

6 Comments

  1. Hello could you please alert the dog owners using Lyme Regis beach that the two people ordering them off the beach have no official right to do this and the order is not effective they are harrassing lone females of all ages and made one lady walk her dogs on the stoney beach

  2. Looking at the numbers & descriptions of responders to the dogs-on-beach survey, I strongly question the words of Cllr Jill Haynes that “the Council have been able to implement the order … according to the thoughts of most respondents” and “The harmonised exclusions on selected beaches across the council’s area is a sensible compromise for dog owners and those who don’t have dogs.” So many of us voted against having to keep dogs on the beach on leads in winter – even though we knew right from the start that a ban was the Council’s preference & that a leads-on-in-winter diktat was the most they would accept under pressure. What a farce that survey is. And what killjoys the Councillors are. They have destroyed the great pleasure dogs & people got from this kind of “free” exercise. Did they ever look at the obvious joy it afforded? For many people with dogs who live alone & have no family this was a great boost. Almost all residents who walk their dogs on Lyme beaches are responsible – there are far more visitors, local & holiday-makers – whose practices are considerably more anti-social. Yet there has been no monitoring for years, That surely is the key. So disappointing, but so expected.

  3. Audrey Cliffe exactly voices my thoughts from the start about a pre-determined ban, the “survey” being time and money wasting window dressing. There are many more residents and visitors who feel as we do that the councillors have been unfair and far from objective in implementing this rule. Shame on you for destroying an element of life that gave great pleasure to so many responsible dog owners, very many living alone with this a rare social outlet to connect with other people & their dogs. The dog mess on the beach you refer to is very, very rare indeed. I’ve been going there daily for years & I don’t think I’ve come across it even once. Would it not have been a lot more sensible to concentrate efforts over the years on instituting some control over the appalling behaviour and serious littering of a section of the population who give no thought for anyone but themselves?

  4. We used to go to Lyme almost every weekend in winter for our dogs to swim in the sea. They are older dogs and can’t walk well on the pebbles on the dog beach side. So it was a treat in the winter months to go to the sandy side. We would buy lunch, browse the shops and make purchases as well as paying for the car park. Now that our dogs won’t be allowed off lead to swim we will no longer visit Lyme. There will be many other dog owners doing the same thing. Lyme is a lovely place and we’ve enjoyed going there for 25 years. I hope this does not affect the economy, particularly shops and restaurants that have struggled to survive this virus. In the cold and rainy months it is the dog owners that you will find at the beach, we keep the shops and restaurants going. We are very sad about this decision and hope the council will change its mind. I feel it will be to the detriment of Lyme and the businesses there if they don’t.

  5. Echoing the words of Dawn, I too visit Lyme in the winter months with my dog, I buy lunch, pay for parking and buy occasional items from the local shops. I am disappointed with the ‘dogs must be kept on leads’ decision. I feel that responsible dog owners are paying the price for the few who are not!!

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