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Hut owners and pet walkers in dogfight over beach-ban plans for Whitstable

By Jodie Nesling

Dog walkers and beach hut owners have locked horns over controversial plans to extend a control order.

The current exclusion zone, which runs from The Street to the steps in front of The Royal in Tankerton, could be extended to Long Rock at Swalecliffe, if approved

It will mean dogs will be banned from the beach between May 1 and September 30, and owners forced to keep them on leads on the promenade over that period.

Dog walkers protest against proposal to ban dogs from the beach
Dog walkers protest against proposal to ban dogs from the beach

City council bosses carried out the review after seeking to replace the ban with a Public Space Prevention Order (PSPO) after it was proposed by Tankerton Beach Hut Association.

Head of safer neighbourhoods Doug Rattray said the council agreed to look at the extension after it was presented by the beach hut association. He told the meeting “it was logical to extend the ban” for health and safety reasons.

A two-month consultation was launched in June, with more than half of the 642 respondents strongly in favour of retaining the status quo. But there was also support for extending the order, either to Tankerton Sailing Club or further afield to Long Rock at Swalecliffe.

Kathryn Derby, with her son and dog Holly, is against the ban
Kathryn Derby, with her son and dog Holly, is against the ban

The emotive issue attracted lively debate at the Whitstable Advisory Members Panel last Wednesday.

Chairman of the Tankerton Beach Hut Association John Marsh said he was concerned that over the summer months families were disturbed by hounds bounding over to people enjoying a picnic.

He said: “The dogs run off and defecate in between the huts – their owners are often unaware as they are out of sight.” Another hut owner,Yvonne, said a dog had run over and cocked its leg against a cushion.

Days could be numbered for dogs on Whitstable beach
Days could be numbered for dogs on Whitstable beach

But dog walkers hit back at the “draconian” rules with one resident questioning the legality of the ban should it pass as it would go against the results of the consultation.

They argued dog owners were responsible and there was very little mess – they have previously submitted a petition with 500 signatures and also staged a dog sit-in on the beach.

Councillors will report their findings to the community committee next week before a final decision is made by the chief executive, Colin Carmichael.

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