St Helens Duver. The Isle of Wight Council scrutiny committee is to consider a decision to ban dogs from being allowed off their leads on the beach. Picture by Robin Crossley.
OWNERS may yet be able to let their dogs run free on St Helens beach.
The Isle of Wight Council’s scrutiny committee is to debate calling on the executive to re-think its decision to overrule officers’ advice and impose a dog control order.
Consultation overwhelmingly opposed an order being imposed on the popular beach, but the executive decided dogs there should be controlled on leads in the same way as they are on most other Island beaches.
But councillors, led by scrutiny committee chairman Cllr Geoff Lumley have said the decision was flawed and will consider the 'call-in’ at a special meeting of the scrutiny committee on Thursday, August 28.
Cllr Lumley, supported by Cllrs Bob Blezzard, Conrad Gauntlett, Stuart Hutchinson and Wayne Whittle called-in the decision because they said there was an absence of evidence to support a decision which went against the council’s procedures and policy framework.
In the call-in they said: "The consultation showed there was insufficient evidence that dogs affected the use and enjoyment of this beach during the prohibition period.
"It could therefore be challenged on the basis that it is a disproportionate response to a relatively low-level problem.
"The decision, and the process by which it was taken, have serious reputational and legal risks for the council."
The councillors want the executive to make a decision "in accordance with the evidence arising from the consultation and the council’s constitution."
The order restricting dogs to leads came as a result of one report of a pet stealing a child’s food at St Helens Duver and another or a man being knocked over by a dog.