Hastings dog owners face fines for taking their pets on the beach

  • Report by ITV News Meridian's Tony Green

Dog owners in Hastings could face fines if they take their pets on the beach in the day during the summer months, under a new council consultation.

Hastings wants to use Public Space Protection Order powers to control when and where dogs are allowed in council owned areas including parks and beaches.

The council has used these powers before but they expired two years ago. Now a consultation has been launched to reintroduce them and make them more widespread.

Dog owner Drew Brooke-Miller described the measures as 'Draconian'.

"It takes in all the parks and tourist attractions", he said.

"But the area that I'm most interested in is the foreshore and the beaches, because they're proposing to make it against the law to walk your dog off the lead on a beach for so many different times of the year.

"And in some cases, this will mean the only time you can go on the beach and let your dog off the leash to exercise it, is when it gets dark or early, very, very early in the morning or dark at night."

Under the proposals dogs would be banned from Hastings Castle Credit: ITV News Meridian

If the new powers are adopted dogs will be banned from Hastings Castle, the cemetery, all children's play areas and all water in Alexandra Park and St Leonard's Gardens.

Dogs would have to be kept on a lead on the promenade at all times, and only allowed on the beach in the daytime during the winter months.

Stephen Jenkinson, access adviser at the Kennel Club, said: "There's things that we're pleased to see in terms of, you know, to find people for not picking up that after their dogs. And also in terms of some of the restrictions on the beaches.

"But there are concerns as well. And in particular, it's saying that in winters on the main beach, you're saying you can only take your dog on the beach in the afternoon after 4 p.m. and then in December the sun's gone down before then.

The pier at Hastings at high tide Credit: ITV News Meridian

"So saying people, you can only work you your dog on the beach after dark. We don't think is good from a safety perspective.

"And also it's much harder to pick up after your dog if you're stuck."

A spokesperson for Hastings Council said that dog owners and non-dog owners were invited to share their views during the consultation.

They said: "The proposals allow time for dog owners to have their dogs off the lead at off peak times, and gives a balance for those who want to be on the beach without dogs."

The consultation ends on October 16. Full details can be viewed here.