No more beach walkies

DOG owners have lost the first round in the battle to stop their pets being banned from the beach at Old Felixstowe today.Suffolk Coastal councillors have formally approved by-laws to ban the animals from the beach between Brackenbury, The Dip and Clifflands from May-September.

DOG owners have lost the first round in the battle to stop their pets being banned from the beach at Old Felixstowe today.

Suffolk Coastal councillors have formally approved by-laws to ban the animals from the beach between Brackenbury, The Dip and Clifflands from May-September.

The by-laws will now be submitted to the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for final approval. Meanwhile the decision will be advertised in the press so people will have a chance to object.

People caught taking dogs on the beach – or having them off the lead on the prom – would face a fine of up to £500.

Chris Slemming, councillor for the environment, said: "I think we have reached a fair compromise with the dog owners as the area the ban will cover has been reduced and will not stretch along the whole of the award winning beach."

But Campaigner Fred Simpson, treasurer of Felixstowe Dog Training Club and who regularly walks his two dogs at The Dip, vowed to continue to protest against the ban.

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He said: "We will fight it with the Government until we get a public enquiry and will organise a public rally if we don't. It is pointless to ban the dogs from an area which no one else uses."

In a report to the council, chief executive Tom Griffin said the by-laws were drawn up following a series of complaints about dog fouling on the beach.

"The Yellow Flag Award winning beach has become extremely popular with visitors, particularly those with young children, as an area which offers a clean and safe environment.

"Unfortunately, however, there have been complaints about dog waste on the beach and the proposed control measures should help to reduce such incidents."

Mr Griffin said the Seaside Award had been "hard fought for" and it would be a shame to jeopardise it and public enjoyment to be curtailed.

There would still be sections of beach either side of the ban area where dog owners could walk their pets.

But owners say the beach is not well-used and their surveys of it over nine months showed that only on a few hot, sunny days was it busy.

n Dogs have been banned from the main holiday beach between the Spa Pavilion and Arwela Road from May to September since 1989.

n What do you think – should dogs be banned from the beach? Do you think it's outrageous? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP4 1AN, or email EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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