Cornwall council is proposing some minor changes to the restrictions on taking dogs onto Cornish beaches following a consultation with the public.
Porth near Newquay will see its 24-hour ban reduced to a seasonal summer ban only and the same will apply to Porthleven.
At Gwithian, where the current dog walking area cannot be accessed as the steps were washed away in storms last year the area has been redefined to provide safe access for dog walkers.
The changes are a result of changes to existing legislation by the government. The existing legislation, called Dog Control Orders, is changing to Public Space Protection Orders which are known as PSPOs.
Geoff Brown, Cabinet Member for Communities at Cornwall council told Truthfal the background to the consultation and why legislation is changing.
He said: “Basically the govt require the council to change all existing dog ban byelaws into PSPOs by October this year. The new orders are a criminal offence and enforceable via a fixed penalty notice unlike byelaws which require recourse through the magistrate’s court.”
Existing restrictions apply to some beaches in Cornwall at certain times of the year, on some there is a total ban and there are also beaches where no restrictions are in place and you can exercise your dog year-round.
Cornwall council proposed that the existing restrictions were just transferred over to the new PSPOs but took the opportunity to consult the public via a survey and over 5,000 people responded.
Brown said: “The Policy Advisory Committee reviewed the report following a lengthy and detailed public consultation which achieved approximately 5,500 responses.”
Brown added that he has also sought advice on making a change to harmonise seasonal daytime bans across the county.
He said “I have sought this advice and am told this is possible as such I am preparing to sign off the seasonal dog bans where they currently apply to run from 1st May to 30th September and daily from 0900 to 1800 on all beaches where such a ban applies.
“This will allow dog owners to walk their pets on the beach early and late but prevent dogs during periods of higher tourist occupation in the season. This seems an excellent compromise where such a ban is felt necessary.”
Guide dogs will not be affected by the changes and are allowed on beaches, even where dog bans are in place.
The majority of respondents to the survey were dog owners, and while many are relieved that existing restrictions have been relaxed slightly, some do not think they go far enough and would like to see more dog friendly beaches in Cornwall.
Local resident Julie Treneer from Mousehole has three dogs and exercises them regularly on Long Rock Beach near Marazion, one of the few dog friendly beaches in the area. She did complete the survey and said: “I am delighted that they have extended the dog free hours although I do think they could do a lot more for us. Everyone has dogs and there is nowhere to take them.”
Beverley another local resident with 2 dogs said: “People come down here and bring money into the county on holiday and they want to bring their dogs, they can’t take them into the pubs or onto the beaches, I think we need to be more like the French.”
So the debate will go on, but for now local dog owners have seen a small step in the right direction and are relieved that restrictions were not tightened as a result of the consultation.