Should dogs be allowed back onto Felixstowe beach in summer?
Dogs could be allowed back onto the main stretch of Felixstowe’s holiday beach in summer after being banned for nearly 30 years.
Community leaders are calling for people to be allowed to walk their family pets on the shore before 10am and after 6pm, leaving the ban in place only during daytime.
But there is concern it could lead to dog mess being left by irresponsible pet owners, which could deter visitors at a time when the resort is enjoying a revival.
At present dogs are banned from the beach between the Spa Pavilion and Arwela Road at all hours between May and October.
If the changes suggested by Felixstowe Town Council are approved by Suffolk Coastal and brought in next May, the length of beach covered for the daytime restrictions would also be extended to run from Cobbold’s Point to Manor End.
Councillor Stuart Bird said the changes suggested were “ludicrous” and a ban would only work properly if it was 24/7.
He said: “If the aim is to allow the beach to be cleaned of excrement for tourists visiting and indeed for all of us to use, then it stands to reason the restriction has got to be 24 hours a day or otherwise you make a complete nonsense of it – irresponsible dog owners will allow their dogs to foul in the evening and it will still be there the next day.”
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Deputy mayor Graham Newman felt the current restrictions were adequate and allowed other areas of beach to be used by dog walkers. He said people’s main concern was dogs coming up to children and frightening them but the proposed changes would create a “very good risk” of mess reappearing on the beach.
Councillor Steve Gallant said the daytime ban area could only be extended if there was a time when people could walk their dogs on the beach.
He said: “Can you imagine the uproar from the dog owners of this town, which I fully support, if they could not use the beach at all? They need to exercise their dogs. They need to go on the beach, they need to let the dogs run. We extend the area but as a compromise we are allowing them to take their dogs on the beach before 10am and after 6pm, the key times for exercising your dog.
“We need to balance the needs of community.”
Irresponsible dog owners would not clean up if they were allowed onto the beach or going onto it when they shouldn’t, he said.