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We will take council to court, say dog walkers banned from St Ives beach

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: November 09, 2012

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Angry dog owners say they are considering a legal challenge to a decision to exclude them from the beaches at one of Cornwall's most popular holiday spots.

Town councillors in St Ives voted through the controversial measure, which will mean no dogs are allowed on their main bathing beaches throughout the summer.

Barbara Nolan, of the St Ives Dog Owners Group, said members were not prepared to take the decision lying down.

She said: "We are going to pursue this. We are thinking about making a legal challenge to the decision." Mrs Nolan said cash pledges for what could prove to be an expensive bid had already been received.

"We have got some offers of money, but what we really need is a dog-friendly lawyer to take on the case.

"St Ives is not the only place this is happening and we feel that, in a way, this could be a test case."

She pointed to a consultation in which two thirds of respondents opposed the ban, adding that the group would stage local meetings to discover the "will of the people" before proceeding.

"We are not going to let this go," she added.

The packed and sometimes heated meeting on Wednesday night heard the new ban proposed by St Ives Town Council's environment committee passed by ten votes to five.

In effect it will do away with current rules that allow dog walkers on to key bathing beaches before 8am and after 7pm in the summer.

From May next year, dogs will be banned from Porthmeor, Porthminster and Porthgwidden beaches for the duration of the summer.

Harbour Beach in St Ives is to remain available for dog walking before 8am and after 7pm, and Carbis Bay is to have an evening ban in the summer, but will be open to dogs between 5am and 8am.

Areas of beach at Lambeth Walk and Bamaluz will be kept open for dogs, and councillors have voted to investigate removing boulders and renovating steps to make them more accessible.

A separate order was also made for all dogs to be kept on a lead while on the footpath to Porthkidney beach.

The dog walking ban was implemented over concerns of nuisance and fouling on the beaches which are among the most popular in the UK.

After the meeting, St Ives resident Mark Noall, who spoke in favour of the ban, said: "These are the premier bathing beaches in the country.

"Seasonal exclusions ensure they are going to be as clean and safe as possible."

However, those who campaigned against the ban said it would have a dire effect on tourism and businesses as many responsible dog owners who liked to bring their pets on holiday would think twice if they were unable to go for a walk on the beach.

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