Dogs to be banned from Whitstable beach in row over poo

Seafront houses at Whitstable, Kent, UK
Seafront houses at Whitstable, Kent, UK

Dog walkers are petitioning against a proposal to ban their pet pooches from a beach in Whitstable after a row over dog poo.

The Tankerton Bay Beach Hut Owners Association says dog mess is a health hazard and has asked Canterbury City Council to extend the area on the beach where dogs have to be on a lead.

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Currently, dogs need to be on a lead between the first house and start of the beach huts at Tankerton Bay. The association wants to extend the restriction to the whole of Tankerton Beach up to Long Rock.

According to Kent Live, John Marsh, chairman of the beach hut association pushing for the ban, said: "We are not against dogs. Some owners are brilliant but dog faeces are a health risk, especially to children. It is easier to track where a dog has pooed when it is on a lead, so it is more likely to be picked up."

Beach huts
Beach huts

He added: "And it is not a ban but a restriction and only for a small very portion of the coastline. About ninety seven percent of the Canterbury district coastlines will still be free from it. It really is not such a big deal. We don't think it is unreasonable."

However, hundreds of people disagree and have signed a petition against the move on

Rev Simon Tillotson, of the Whitstable Team Ministry, says he doesn't think there's a need for an extension on the restriction.

"The current situation is already serving both groups; those with dogs and those without," he explained.

"There is a huge area where dogs are not allowed and a smaller area where they are.

"I think for a lot of people who live in Whitstable it's not just about the dogs, it's an important social meeting spot for people.

"Quite a lot of people who live on their own have dogs. If you make it harder for them, it impacts them as well as the dogs."

Holidaymakers also think it's unfair, and feel that dog owners are being penalised when litter is a bigger problem.

One woman, Kathryn Derby, told Kent Online: "For me personally and other families with dogs, we spend our summers here, we have our holidays in the area because we can bring our dogs to the beach with us," she said.

"We don't have to leave them at home or put them in kennels.

"We're spending our money in the town, with local dog-friendly businesses."

A Canterbury City Council spokesperson said they understood that the suggestion the dog ban be extended further along Tankerton has raised "conflicting views", adding: "So we will shortly be asking the public what they think."