Big mess of a row over beach

DOG owners facing a £500 fine for taking their pets onto the shore are today calling for a public inquiry into the proposed beach ban.More than 100 owners have signed a petition opposing new by-laws to stop them walking their pets at Old Felixstowe – and are preparing to ask the Home Office to intervene.

DOG owners facing a £500 fine for taking their pets onto the shore are today calling for a public inquiry into the proposed beach ban.

More than 100 owners have signed a petition opposing new by-laws to stop them walking their pets at Old Felixstowe – and are preparing to ask the Home Office to intervene.

"We were told at the start that we could ask for a public inquiry and that is what we will be doing," said Fred Simpson, who regularly walks his two dogs – a Yorkshire terrier and a Jack Russell – at The Dip.

"This by-law will be very unfair on dog owners and restrict further the places we have to walk our dogs, which are getting fewer and fewer.

"The Dip is an area not used by many people at all – we are being shoved out.

"The council says it needs the by-law because of the Yellow Flag Seaside Award for the beach but it has had the award three years and not had a dog ban."

Most Read

Suffolk Coastal council put forward the ban because the dog mess was fouling the shore and sea and it was feared it could jeopardise the Seaside Award.

Mr Simpson, treasurer of Felixstowe Dog Training Club, said owners were perfectly prepared to accept a compromise, such as a ban during the six-week school holidays and on weekends during spring and summer.

"I am against dog heaps and I know there are a few irresponsible owners, but the majority do clear up after their dogs," he said.

"That beach is very rarely used by people except when it is really hot and sunny, a few times every year, and it is a place loved by local people to walk their dogs – often the only users of the beach.

"I surveyed the beach for nine-and-a-half months and only on 14 occasions did I find people on the beach other than dogs and their owners.

"These new by-laws will also mean you have to keep your dog on a lead when walking on the prom at The Dip, which is contrary to what happens on the main seafront and will be confusing to owners, especially visitors."

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said the council would decide on the dog ban on March 27. If it approves it, it will write to the government, the intention will be advertised and people will have 28 days to object.

"At the end of that period the decision will rest with the government, which could call a public inquiry if there have been overwhelming objections," he said.

n What do you think – is it outrageous that should dogs be banned from the beach? Are you a dog lover who walks their pet at The Dip? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN, or email EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

saga factfile

n Suffolk Coastal proposed a ban on dogs on the beach in the area of Brackenbury, The Dip and Clifflands from May-September.

n After initial objections area was reduced to run from Brackenbury to just past the boat storage park.

n Council says irresponsible dog owners are not clearing up after their pets, creating a health risk with dog faeces accumulating on the beach.

n Environmental health officers said the faeces could contribute to the bacterial content of the seawater or leave contamination on the beach itself.

n Councillors will make a final decision on March 27, then it's up to the Home Office.

n Dogs are already banned from the beach between the Spa Pavilion and Arwela Road from May to September.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter