Dog walkers respond to Council’s beach ban

Dog walkers respond to Council's beach ban

Dog walkers respond to Council’s beach ban

Dog walkers have responded to North East Lincolnshire Council’s statement, which informed dog owners that dogs are to be banned from the beach between the 10th of April and the 30th of September.

Cleethorpes beach is closed to dogs during peak season every year.

They have urged the council to reconsider the ban this year.

Since the outbreak and the nationwide lockdown, people have been advised not to gather on the beach. The Council requested that residents act responsibly over the Easter weekend, and use other open spaces to exercise their dogs.

People are allowed to exercise once a day, but they must remember to maintain social distancing at all times, especially when using open spaces, such as the beach and parks.

Councillor Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for environment and transport, said:

“We understand people want to get out the house and exercise with their dogs, but there are other places to enjoy a walk.

“Please do not use the main beach from Good Friday. Instead, you can walk between Cleethorpes Leisure Centre and the Humberston Fitties – all while keeping a safe distance.

“If you do choose to use the beach for exercise, please follow the advice from Government and maintain social distancing. Be responsible.

“The beach will still be here when all this is over, so please, I urge everyone in North East Lincolnshire to be responsible. Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.”

But, local residents are calling on the council to reverse the decision.

Dog walkers are asking the council to scrap the dog ban after the lockdown is lifted, so that they can use the space to exercise while social distancing.

One resident said that the ban “does not make sense, considering that the beach is by far the largest area locally and therefore it is easy to keep a safe distance from each other while getting daily exercise.”

Another called the decision very disappointing considering the circumstances:

“By stopping us from walking on the beach, it will mean that there will be more dog walkers in the parks, in other public spaces, and on the footpaths, making it harder for us to socially distance from each other.

“If we are allowed to use the beach, no one area will be too busy.”

Usually, Easter weekend would see the beach, parks and open spaces full of people getting together to enjoy the long weekend and spring weather.

North East Lincoonshire Council has responded, saying that lifting the ban on dogs visiting Cleethorpes beach is not  as simple as just stopping it, as it is part of an annual agreement with Natural England. Given the current circumstances, reversing that agreement could take longer than the time that dogs are banned from the beach.

A spokesperson said:

“We all love our pet pooches but unfortunately it isn’t as simple as just lifting the ban.

“The seasonal ban is part of an agreement with Natural England and we would need to submit an amended agreement to them for approval.

“Obviously in the current climate, there is no telling how long it would take for Natural England to review and approve the changes – the decision could take longer than the current restrictions are in place for.

“We have over 50 parks and open spaces in our area, as well as a stretch of beach open to dog walkers all year round. I would encourage pet owners to take advantage of those scenic spots within walking distance of their homes.

“As I’m sure residents will understand, our staff are working very hard to keep delivering vital services to people who don’t have family and friends to support them – some staff have been redeployed to help put together and distribute food and medicine parcels – spending time looking into lifting restrictions on beach-bound dog walkers is not a priority.

“Ultimately, people should not be driving to and from places for their daily exercise. The advice from the Government and the Police is clear – people should stay home, exercising in their gardens and the surrounds of their homes.

“Please abide by this advice so we can beat coronavirus together.”

The council have said that staff will be patrolling hotspots to ensure that people are adhering to the rules.

Contact Gi Grimsby
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