THE town council has said it hopes regulations regarding dogs on the sandy beach in Lyme Regis will be reconsidered in September.
Following the introduction of the new 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 have been made, as well as suggestions of a complete ban of dogs from the sandy beach.
The issue was raised again at the final meeting of the current town council, held on Wednesday evening ahead of the local elections on Thursday.
At the meeting, councillors discussed many achievements from their four years in office, as well as ongoing issues that needed to be dealt with by the new administration.
Councillor Owen Lovell, who did not seek re-election on Thursday because of an issue with his nomination papers, said he hoped the new council would continue to push for regulations to be reconsidered and dogs to be kept on leads.
He described the new Dorset Council, which took over from all district and county councils in the area in April, as a “useless load of sharks who changed the laws that were more efficient for Lyme Regis”.
Councillor Lovell questioned whether it was worth the town council continuing to pay two enforcement officers who were “not enforcing anything with regards to dogs” because of a lack of respect from the public and no support from Dorset Council.
The Mayor of Lyme Regis, Councillor Michaela Ellis, said the enforcement officers were employed to work all over the town and not focus solely on dogs on the beach.
Councillor Brian Larcombe said he thought improved signage would help the situation, as the dates during which dogs were banned from the beach were currently advertised in “the tiniest print on a very tiny sign”.
Councillor Stan Williams said New Year’s Day on the beach had been “quite frightening” with the number of children playing while dogs ran around freely.
He added: “We have two very good beaches – Monmouth Beach and we now have much more access to the eastern beach – so there’s no reason to have dogs on our front beach. I myself would go for a total ban on the front beach.”
Town clerk John Wright said that the PSPO was not originally due to be reconsidered by the new Dorset Council until October 2020, but because of the pressure put on them it would now be looked into in September 2019.
He added that the policy was “out of the town council’s hands” but they would continue push for a change to the regulations.