Dorset Council dog lead rule challenged over child safety fears | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

  • By Trevor Bevins
  • Local Democracy Reporting Service

12 October 2023

Image source, Dorset Council

Image caption,

Dorset Council wants to remove a winter lead restriction on Lyme Regis beach

A proposal to remove a restriction for dogs to be on leads on a Dorset beach has been described as putting children at risk.

Members of Lyme Regis town council challenged the plans at a committee meeting held by the county authority on Thursday.

Dorset Council wants to remove the winter restriction on Lyme Regis beach.

Cabinet member Laura Beddow said it would bring the town in line with rules elsewhere in the county.

But town councillor Belinda Bawden said the change would mean the beach was no longer safe for her grandson.

Lyme mayor David Sarson also said he wanted to make the strongest possible objection on health and safety grounds.

He told Dorset council’s place overview committee: “This prioritises a relatively small number of dog owners over the needs of families and visitors.”

Mr Sarson also said children and vulnerable people should be able to use the beach without fear of being knocked over or coming into contact with dog waste.

Image source, Google Maps

Image caption,

Dorset Council have suggested the restrictions for dogs on leads be removed for the tiny beach

Dorset Council ran a poll which showed 54% were in favour of removing the restriction.

Portfolio holder Ms Beddow said there were adequate measures in place in all areas to deal with dogs which were out of control or fouling.

The town mayor and others have questioned the validity of the 54% result, claiming there has been a campaign by dog owners to get the result they wanted.

Image source, Dorset Council

Image caption,

MS Bawden said: “Most local people in Lyme Regis want to keep the winter lead restriction – especially in light of recent nationally reported dog attacks.”

Ms Bawden said: “I genuinely don’t see why dogs are being prioritised over our children and why, in the light of recent tragedies, Dorset Council would choose to put my grandson, my constituents and visitors at risk in this way.

“I feel the silent majority have not been heard above an organised campaign.”

A final decision will be made by the council cabinet in November with the new regulations due to come into force in the New Year.

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