Talya Honebeek and Declan Wiseman
SUNDERLAND CITY COUNCIL have extended the consultation on the summertime banning of dogs on beaches, after over 3000 angry dog owners petitioned the council.
Council Leader, Councillor Graeme Miller, said: “Beach users told us that the current dog exclusion zones are not as clear as they might be. So the proposals put forward in the consultation were designed to address these concerns by making the restrictions clearer at the same time as addressing the issues of increased litter and dog mess.
“We really want residents to tell us if they’d like to see further action to control issues such as dogs on beaches and dog fouling, or whether they are happy with the current dog control measures we have in place.”
Sunderland City Council is revising its Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO), which includes reviewing the summertime dog exclusion zones on Roker and Seaburn beaches.
The council originally asked locals to choose between either banning dogs from all beaches between 9 am and 6 pm but allowing them to roam freely at other times or allowing dogs on the beach at any time, provided they stay on a lead at all times.
A third option has now been added which keeps the current system of dog exclusion zones in place at Seaburn and Roker from May 1 to September 30 but with improved signage.
The consultation will now close at midnight, February 26, before the council makes a decision based on local resident’s responses.
Paula Smith, who organised the petition, told SR News: “For years around summer time the council allocated a proportion of the beach where dogs could go. This was adequate.
“But to stop it totally and ban all dogs over summer will mean people will go elsewhere.”
Mrs Smith, who works in finance, said: “Us dog walkers put into the local economy, we buy coffee, tea and snacks whilst down at the beach.
“I would be happy if the council allocated a section of the beach where dogs were free to run and have a good walk. We understand that over summer more people will be at the beach which is great, but dog walkers would also like the same privilege of seeing our lovely beach.”
Charlotte Paxton, owner of New Body Fitness, has a 10-year-old French bulldog, and she said: “My dog Dolly loves the beach so much, she’s quite old so I would be so sad if she missed the summer on the beach as she may not have much longer left.”
“I think the system they have had for years works and keeps everyone happy with families and dog walkers having designated areas. I can’t really see why they are needing to change it.”