MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan has waded in to a controversial decision to ban dogs from a town beach, asking for clarification and voicing her concerns.
A few weeks ago, Warkworth Harbour Commissioners (WHC) imposed the restriction at Amble Little Shore, stopping pooches from going onto the stretch from May until the end of September.
The measure, which extends to the dune area, has been introduced following a battle against dog fouling. WHC say they were forced to act to make the area safe for families and that the ban is in line with other beaches where dogs aren’t allowed, such as Blyth and Newbiggin. But critics have hit out at the ban, saying there was no consultation and that responsible owners are being made to suffer for irresponsible ones who don’t scoop the poop.
Now, Mrs Trevelyan has written to WHC to share her opinion on the situation. She wrote: ‘I have been contacted by several concerned Amble residents regarding the dog ban. This is a contentious issue and I appreciate that dog fouling is a dreadful problem which needs addressing.
‘It seems that there is unrest – firstly the decision to introduce a ban. Many residents are frustrated as it appears no consultation process took place before a ban was decided, is this correct? I would be most grateful for a copy of the minutes taken at the meeting in which the decision was taken as I believe unelected members are not allowed to attend these meetings.
‘Had a consultation took place, alternatives could have been investigated, such as getting local residents involved, looking to them for help and support in policing the areas, has anything like this ever been considered? What are the long-term proposals – is it an annual occurrence and how is it to be policed?
‘I am concerned that by merely introducing a ban on the beach and dunes the problem itself is not being tackled, just moved elsewhere. The few repeat offenders will no doubt continue to leave their dog mess on the areas they are still permitted to use such as the pier and grassed area.’
Mrs Trevelyan said she has not yet received a reply. The Gazette contacted WHC for comment, but did not receive one before going to press.