Council calls for changes to Weymouth beach dog ban laws

Council calls for changes to Weymouth beach dog ban laws

Published by Maria Greenwood at 8:10am 20th September 2019.

Weymouth wants changes to dog ban laws which would bring the resort in line with other areas in the county.

The town council is to ask the unitary council to amend the order to only ban dogs from beaches from May 1st to the end of September. 

The current order lasts from Good Friday until the end of October.

Current orders, across the county, are being extended for a year while a public consultation gets underway in January, lasting 12 weeks, about their future.

Weymouth Town Council, David Gray
Weymouth Town Council, David Gray

Cllr David Gray made a plea for the Dorset Council to vary the Weymouth order when it extends it at the point it expires next May.

He told a town council services committee meeting on Tuesday evening that local businesses claimed they were losing out on trade because of the ban.

He said that the last time there was a public referendum on the issue 63 per cent in Weymouth voted against the longer ban.

He said more than 200 businesses were currently calling for a change to the dog-related Public Spaces Protection Orders to limit the ban period from May to September.

The committee heard that any changes would cost around £7,000 to amend signs, maps and leaflets at the beach and in the council’s parks and gardens.

Weymouth Beach
Weymouth Beach

'Not all councillors were in favour of amending the orders'

Cllrs Christine James and David Harris both said they had grandchildren who were wary of dogs.

Cllr James said she hated it when dogs jumped up at her grandchildren or urinated, or worse, on the sands where children were playing. She said:

"There are plenty of places where people can go and walk their dogs."

Cllr Harris said he found it remarkable that dogs could go almost everywhere, apart from fenced off play areas. He said he wanted to see an environment where children who were nervous of dogs could play freely, without fear.

Cllr Ken Whatley questioned why the current dog area, by the Pavilion, had been picked for pet owners to use. He said:

"I have always wondered why we let dogs use the best bit of the beach when other areas, such as by the Clock, are more suitable."

He also suggested that a relaxation of the order ought to be considered early in the morning and later in the day when children were less likely to be around.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter