Council make U-turn over beach horse ban

Emma Overton

From left to right; Suzanne Willson, chairman of Colne Valley Riding Club, Wendy O'Brien, horse owner/rider, Peter Harris, councillor for Weeley and Tendring, Emma Overton, petition founder, Ali Power, chairman of Tendring Hundred Riding Club, Sue Dobson, from Essex Bridleways Association, - Credit: Emma Overton

A plan to ban horses from the beach at Frinton during summer months has been scrapped after more than 5,000 people signed a petition in favour of the riders.

Tendring District Council made the U-turn after there was uproar over their plan to completely ban horses from beach through to the end of September.

Emma Overton, who initially launched the petition against Tendring District Council's controversial ban, described said it was "amazing" they had been victorious.

Emma Overton riding her horse at Frinton beach, where the activity is now banned until October.

Emma Overton riding her horse at Frinton beach.  - Credit: Danny Overton

"The last two weeks have been worth it," said Mrs Overton, whose petition nearly reached 5,000 signatures.

"We weren't sure how it was going to turn out, so to have it overturned completely has been amazing. We really didn't expect it.

"The support we have had from residents has also been amazing and is really heart-warming to see. There were lots of moaners on Facebook beforehand, but we have all come together to find a way to have horses and people at the beach."

While riding will no longer be banned during summer months, there will continue to be restrictions over when horses are allowed on the beach.

Mrs Overton, along with other horse riders and people behind the petition, met with Weeley and Tendring councillor Peter Harris at the beach over the weekend to celebrate the news. 

Jacky Wild, Emma Overton and daughter Leah Hayes horse riding at Frinton beach, where it is now banned. 

Jacky Wild, Emma Overton and daughter Leah Hayes horse riding at Frinton beach - Credit: Danny Overton

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They have come up with a code of conduct which they have put to Tendring District Council to stop any issues between riders and beach goers. 

They have asked for better signage and have suggested the restrictions are extended slightly to deter riders from visiting the beach in the summer evenings, and encourage them to visit in the mornings before tourists arrive. 

Currently horses must not be ridden on the beach between 9am and 6pm, but Mrs Overton and the other riders feel 8pm would be more approriate.

Emma Overton has launched a petition against the ban on horse riding at Frinton beach.

Emma Overton is delighted that the council has changed their decision - Credit: Danny Overton

They hope riders and people can be more mindful of each other in the future, to work together safely to have riders welcomed back at the beach. 

Mrs Overton said now they are focussing on campaigning for more bridleways in the area, as the petition has highlighted that there is a shortage.

"The next thing we need to do is get horses off the roads, as often we are on the roads because the bridleways are only 20ft long, so it's not our fault," she said.

"The petition has highlighted that there is a lack of places to ride safely in the area."

A spokesperson for Tendring District Council said: "The decision was made by officers without the knowledge or consent of the Cabinet at Tendring District Council. This was wrong and for that we can only apologise. 

"We can confirm that there is no ban in force preventing horses using the District’s beaches, including the one at Frinton. 

"By working with the riding community on a code of conduct to preserve public safety, we are confident that we will be in a position to preserve this long into the future."

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