Council holding beach cleanliness and dog access consultation this Thursday (January 31).

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DOG WALKERS are barking mad after learning of proposals to ban their four legged friends from parts of Instow Beach.

Instow Parish Council is holding a public consultation and meeting tomorrow (Thursday) to ask for views on the cleanliness of the beach, how it should be cleaned and whether there should be restricted access to dogs.

The drop in event at All Saints Community Centre in Anstey Way, Instow, runs from 4-7pm and will be followed by a public meeting. If more space is needed it will be moved to Instow Parish Hall.

The council said the beach cleaning contract was due for renewal, and it had agreed residents should be consulted on how cleaning is to be carried out. It said there were complaints about beach cleanliness during 2012.

It leases the Quay area to Lane End section of beach from the Crown Estate and pays £6,000 for the beach to be cleaned. The rest belongs to Christie Estates.

The council is also suggesting a ‘zoning policy’ to restrict dogs on part of the beach during the summer months. It is also asking if dogs should be kept on a lead.

In a statement it said several families with young children had commented they would not go to the beach ‘because of the number of dogs on the beach, some of which worry their children’.

The idea has not gone down well with dog walkers, who accompanied by their pets turned out in force at the beach on Friday.

“I am extremely fed up that our canine friends are being discriminated against, ostracised and excluded from beaches, fields and that many councils are insisting they are kept on leads,” said Joanne Bell from Yelland, who is working to co-ordinate the opposition.

“For many living alone, their dog is their only companion; some are lonely and come on Instow Beach for a chat and to socialise.

“If the council want a fight - then we will oblige.”

Peter Barrett travel from East-the-Water every day to walk his dog on the beach: “This is the only dog friendly beach in the area, every other has restrictions of some sort of another. Apart from the Tarka Trail, which is also open to cyclists, there is nowhere else to walk your dog and let them off the lead, so it will make life very difficult.”

Chief executive Raymond Caldwell said Christie Estates had ‘written to the council telling them this is not going ahead’.

“We don’t want to be party to what is basically a very prejudicial proposal and anything which is going to reduce the attractiveness of a location has got to be questioned,” he said.

“The big issue at Instow is the sewage discharge, which is going on every day of the week and that is where the attention should be focused.”

Residents can also have their say by writing to: Instow Parish Clerk, 2 Sticklepath Court, Lake, Barnstaple, EX31 3HN or email kernow@rwjacob.free-online.co.uk

* TORRIDGE District Council is currently consulting on proposals for Northam Burrows whereby owners much put dogs on leads if requested. People can have their say at www.torridge.gov.uk/dogcontrolorders

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