There has always been a lot of strong feeling in Felixstowe as to whether dogs should be banned from the beach during the summer. Dog owners of course feel they are responsible and if they clear up behind their pooch there shouldn’t be a problem sharing the beach with families and day trippers. But there are always some irresponsible owners – and families with children can rightly be concerned about what their kids may pick up while playing in the sand.
The subject was brought up again at a recent Town Council meeting due to the fact that from October 2017 a number of Byelaws and Orders that currently exist to control anti-social behaviour will be repealed – including the dog ban. If ongoing control is required it will be necessary to replace them with Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) made under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014.
The process of making a PSPO requires a formal period of consultation prior to consideration and adoption by Suffolk Coastal District Council’s Cabinet.
Before issuing a PSPO the Council is required to consult with the Chief Police Officer, the Police
Crime Commissioner and any representatives of the local community they consider appropriate. The test for issuing an Order will be that the local authority reasonably believes that the behaviour is detrimental to the local community’s quality of life and that the impact merits restrictions being put in place.
The Order will remain in place for up to three years and will require renewal at the end of each three year period. A breach of the Order without reasonable excuse would be a criminal offence, subject to a fixed penalty notice or prosecution.
The Town Council have been asked to look at subjects they feel might need a new PSPO – and the summer beach dog ban is one of the areas that will have to be considered.
At the moment dogs are banned from an area extending from Arwela Rd to the Spa Pavilion from May to September. During discussion Councillor Kimberley Williams suggested extending the ban to the whole of the shore line. Others felt the ban worked in its current configuration allowing space for both dogs and holiday makers to share the beach – so should remain as it is.
The last time extending the ban was considered in 2004 there were mass protests by dog owners with a petition and a seafront march.
If you have views on this subject – please let the council know by writing to the town hall or e mailing firstname.lastname@example.org