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Councillors plan dog walking ban on Seaham Beach - despite just eight fouling complaints in five years

Seaham beach

Seaham beach

DOG walkers could soon be banned from taking their pets for walks on parts of Seaham Beach.

In a bid to keep the beauty spot cleaner and promote tourism for the area, Durham County and Seaham Town councils have proposed a dog control order.

If brought in, dogs will not be allowed onto certain areas of the beach from April 1 to September 30 each year, starting from 2015.

Sections of Sunderland’s Seaburn Beach already have a similar order in place between May and September annually.

The order would mean dogs would be excluded from the entrance to the beach at the car park near the five-star Seaham Hall hotel, extending south to, and including, the harbour marina.

However, dogs would still be allowed on the promenade and the beach area far north of the car park near Seaham Hall.

“Both the county council and the town council are working to regenerate areas of Seaham,” said a report put before Durham County Council’s cabinet.

“The town council strongly feels that the beach experience would be improved by keeping it free from dogs running loose and help ensure that it has no dog dirt left on it during the summer season.

“In turn, this would help attract and retain visitors to the town and thereby increase the economic viability of the area.

“Whilst there have only been eight complaints about dog fouling on Seaham Beach/Promenade logged since December 2009, it is felt that this may be an under-representation of levels of local concern.

“Four fixed penalty notices have been issued for dog fouling around the beach area since May 2011.”

The order would not apply to anyone registered blind or disabled people who use trained assistance dogs.

People would also be able to walk their dogs along the entire beach between October 1 and March 31.

Seaham residents and interested parties are now being invited to have their say on the proposal during a consultation, which begins tomorrow and ends on Monday, August 18.

A final decision on whether to introduce the order will then be made.

Coun Brian Stephens, portfolio holder for neighbourhoods and local partnerships at Durham County Council, said: “Seaham beach is a popular attraction used by residents and visitors alike.

“The dog control order proposal will seek a balance to ensure selected sections of the beach are dog-free, while owners are still able to exercise their dogs all year round on the beach to the north of Seaham Hall car park, as well as the promenade.”

Residents can have their say by going to www.durham.gov.uk/consultation and completing an online survey.

A paper survey can also be completed and is available from reception at the Seaham Customer Access Point, which is in St John’s Square, Sophia Street.

Comments can also be emailed to dogcontrol@durham.gov.uk or write to Durham County Council, Dog Control Order Consultation, Neighbourhood Services, Communications and Marketing team, County Hall, in Durham City.

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