‘Dog beach ban proposals are going ahead’

Dog lovers  take to the beach at Weststrand in Portrush on Sunday to protest at Coleraine Borough Council's decision to bann dogs from the beach.MARK JAMIESON.
Dog lovers take to the beach at Weststrand in Portrush on Sunday to protest at Coleraine Borough Council's decision to bann dogs from the beach.MARK JAMIESON.
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COLERAINE Coleraine Borough Council has dismissed claims that it is shelving the a consultation to ban dogs from local beaches.

Council was responding to a statement by Portrush alderman Norman Hillis who said officers were inundated with objections before the consultation period ended.

The proposal followed complaints about dog owners failing to clean up after their pets.

Last month around a thousand dog owners took to West Strand beach at Portrush to protest.

Alderman Hillis said he does not believe the plans will be revived.

“I can categorically say it will not come into force,” he told the BBC.

“I am told there are thousands of respondents, not unsurprisingly if my email, personal calls, and letters I got are anything to go by.

“So officials will be sifting through all these thousands of responses and we are told at council that it is unlikely that anything will come to the council until at least September. So dog walkers are safe to walk their dogs.”

Council refuted the former mayor’s claims, saying the consultation had closed on April 26.

A statement said: “Council can confirm that there has not been any change to the timeframe for Coleraine Borough Council’s consultation.

“The submissions from the public are currently being reviewed and taken under consideration, ready to be put forward in a report with recommendations to the full Council meeting in September -October this year, as originally planned.

Kieran Doherty, Corporate Director of Environmental Services at Coleraine Borough Council said; “The proposed dog control orders which Council are considering include the following: The Dogs Exclusion Order proposes excluding dogs from playgrounds, managed playing fields, tennis courts, bowling greens, Ballyreagh golf course, MUGA’s, West Strand Beach, The Herring Pond, My Ladies bathing place, war memorials, The Rose Gardens, Coleraine, Lower Secret garden, Antrim Gardens, Portrush, Arcadia Gardens, Portrush and the Recreational Grounds Portrush at all times. Some beaches and bathing sites have exclusions from 1st May to 30th September each year. The consultation process has not changed and Council is still working towards the original deadline for submission to full Council for Members’ decision by September 2013.”