A CONSULTATION has revealed public opinion on one of the most hotly-debated topics raised in Lyme Regis in recent years – should dogs be allowed on the town’s main beach?
A public consultation on dog-related Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) was held earlier this year and the results have now been revealed.
The consultation asked for the views of residents, visitors and business owners regarding restrictions placed on dogs in public places, such as beaches and cemeteries.
In Lyme Regis, debate over whether dogs should be allowed to use the town’s main sandy beach has raged for years.
Under the current PSPO, dogs are not allowed on Lyme Regis front beach – including the sand and shingle – from May 1 to October 1. Outside of this restricted period, they are allowed on the front beach with no lead, and are allowed on all other Lyme Regis beaches all-year-round.
Lyme Regis Town Council has appealed for dogs to be banned from the sandy beach and Cobb Gate shingle beach all year round, but a well-supported petition was launched against this.
The final decision on whether to change the current PSPO regulations lies with Dorset Council and the consultation findings will help them make a decision.
A total of 1,175 people responded to questions about Lyme Regis front beach. When asked if they would like to see the current regulations changed, 69% said they would prefer no change, 30% said they would like to see a change and 1% said they did not know.
When asked what restrictions they felt should be applied to the beach, 44.2% of respondents said they felt the beach should be unrestricted; 31.2% said they would like dogs to be banned from May 1 to September 30; and 13.5% said they would like the restrictions to apply all-year-round.
Others were split between restrictions being enforced from Good Friday to October 31, Good Friday to September 30 or April 1 to October 31.
Those taking part in the consultation were also asked whether they felt dogs should be kept on a lead when they were allowed on the beach. The response was split, with 48.7% saying yes, 49.2% saying no, and 2% saying they did not know.
Comments from those responding to the consultation raised concerns about dog’s mess on the beach and dogs running loose causing a nuisance and intimidation, especially for children or disabled people.
However, others said that banning dogs all year from the beach would have a detrimental effect on the tourism industry and nearby businesses.
Cllr Jill Haynes, Dorset Council portfolio holder for Customer and Community Services said: “We have had an excellent response rate for this consultation and it gave us a wealth of information to base the new PSPO. Thank you to everyone who took part.”
The full report and recommendations will be discussed at Place and Resources Overview Committee on September 21 and then at Cabinet on October 6. To view the complete report, visit www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/dogs-pspo