Controversial proposals by Sedgemoor District Council to remove the winter ban on dogs using the town’s main beach have been “put on hold” this week amid a heated debate about the plan.
As first reported here by Burnham-On-Sea.com in October, the District Council has been considering lifting the ban on dogs on Burnham’s main beach between the Jetty and Pavilion.
However, angry councillors in Burnham-On-Sea attacked the proposals in November, as we reported here, saying lifting the ban would hurt the town’s image as a family-friendly resort.
Now, Sedgemoor District Council has back-tracked on the plans. Spokeswoman Claire Faun told Burnham-On-Sea.com on Thursday: “We have decided to drop the proposals until later next year.”
She explained: “As part of the process of renewing the dog control orders across the district to take account of changes in legislation, it is appropriate for Sedgemoor District Council to consult the town council on orders that covered the beach area In this instance the Town Council were consulted in October to establish if they would support an outline proposal to amend the orders when renewal occurs next year, so that their views could be considered in the process. The views of the Town Council will be taken into account when reviewing the orders.”
Burnham Town councillor Louise Parkin told last month’s meeting: “It is vitally important that we keep the ban in place here to ensure Burnham is a family-friendly resort with a children’s beach.”
“It took two years of work of my Town Council committee to get this dog ban introduced along this stretch of beach many years ago, making it family-friendly for children to play without worrying about dogs. Lifting the ban on dogs would be a huge mistake,” added Cllr Parkin, pictured.
Cllr Maria Clarke, Burnham’s Mayoress, added: “I fully support Cllr Parkin on this – from a health and safety perspective I feel we should be keeping this as a family beach.”
And Cllr Peter Burridge-Clayton told the meeting: “I would echo all those sentiments.”
The Town Council approached Sedgemoor District Council to lobby it to ensure the ban on dogs remains in force over the winter.
Sedgemoor had said the existing all-year-round ban on the main beach is difficult to enforce during the winter months when there are no beach wardens on duty – although its dog wardens have issued ten fines in recent weeks for fouling on the beach and seafront.
Dave Coles, Coastal and Environmental Protection Manager at Sedgemoor District Council, said: “We are considering modifying the winter-time ban on dogs for the main beach to make it more easily enforceable for us, more easier to understand for dog owners, and to reflect levels of winter use. Over the winter, the main beach currently remains closed to dogs while the other two beaches either side are opened to dogs.”