Call for U-turn on dogs on leads decision

By Emily Pearce

Monday, September 1, 2014

 

A U-TURN could be on the cards after Isle of Wight Council bosses banned dogs from running free on St Helens beach.

On Thursday, the council's scrutiny committee urged the executive to reverse its decision of August 5, ordering dogs to be kept on leads at The Duver and promenade during summer, and accused members of blatantly ignoring the results of a public consultation.

More than 300 people responded to the Isle of Wight Council consultation — 282 opposed the dog control order and only 22 supported it.

Scrutiny members called the decision in and quizzed council leader Cllr Ian Stephens and Cllr Luisa Hillard, the executive member responsible for the public realm, at a special meeting of the committee.

The debate was followed by a unanimous vote calling for the decision to be overturned.

Chairman Cllr Geoff Lumley cautioned the executive over ignoring public opinion, warning it would undermine the council's reputation and possibly result in legal action.

He said: "Interestingly, Cllr Hillard said the order was needed to keep children safe. So why not keep dogs on leads at all times?

"This wasn't about dogs though, it was about the decision making process. Why have a consultation and then ignore it? The only evidence from St Helens Parish Council that residents wanted the order was anecdotal, which doesn't stack up against almost 300 objectors.

"This is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things, but it makes me wonder how the council will handle the big budget decisions.

"I have absolutely no doubt the executive will ignore our resolution though, I don't expect them to pay any attention at all."

Reporter: emilyp@iwcpmail.co.uk

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