Dog owners criticise ‘narrow-minded’ Felixstowe beach dog ban proposals
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Proposals to ban dogs from a larger stretch of a popular Suffolk beach could deter pet-owning families from visiting the resort, a couple has warned.
Mike and Liz Ashby, from Ipswich, said they were “very perturbed” by the possible restrictions being imposed on Felixstowe beach.
Suffolk Coastal District Council is seeking views on when and where dogs should be banned from the beach.
Existing bylaws already prevent dogs visiting part of beach from May-October, The consultation on Public Space Protection Orders includes an option to retain that ban and another which would cover almost all the resort’s coastline – but only from 10am-6pm, rather than all day.
Felixstowe Town Council, which suggested the new option, said it would allow “greater flexibility” than the bylaw provided.
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However, Mr and Mrs Ashby said it could deter visitors.
“Having been impressed by the improvements made to the beach area by the re-generation project, in recent years, these proposals now seem to want to exclude families from enjoying them with their pets,” they said. “Dogs are very much part of families and their presence give immense joy and it is fairly noticeable that the current trend is that the smaller breeds of dog are very popular.”
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The couple said it was “narrow-minded” to suggest dog owners only wanted to walk their pets on unrestricted areas of the beach.
“Many law-abiding dog owners like to enjoy a full day on the beach, enjoying the facilities and of course spending money in the local economy,” they added.
While dog owners are often accused of “beach indiscretions”, Mr and Mrs Ashby pointed out they often the ones watching out for rubbish left by other visitors, which could harm their pets.
Rather than banning dogs, the couple suggest keeping the same scope of the restrictions but requiring dogs to be kept on leads between May and September.
Felixstowe Town Council explained the new option was to allow dog owners to use the beach in the morning and evening, when it is less busy, but would apply to a larger area, because the beach had become more popular in recent years. “The council has an open mind to what the public would prefer, but we thought it was worth including in the consultation,” a spokesman added.
Visit www.felixstowe.gov.uk/say-changes-dog-controls/ to find out more about the consultation.