Suffolk Coastal proposes 'draconian' rules to keep dogs on leads

Image caption,
Proposed rules would see dogs kept on leads at Shingle Street beach in Suffolk

Dog owners could be fined for letting their pets loose on grass verges, allotments, churchyards, greens and pitches under council proposals.

Suffolk Coastal District Council is consulting on bringing the rules under the public space protection order.

Constituency MP Therese Coffey said the proposals were "draconian" and felt like "over-regulation".

The council said it was trying to not be "too restrictive" while protecting the public's health and safety.

It said issues were raised by town and parish councils in a pre-consultation phase.

Council officials said the order would enable them to enforce the offences with an on-the-spot £80 fine.

Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey said: "There are plenty of spaces in Suffolk where there is a village green near a road, next to a road, where people are quite regularly using that place to throw balls for their dogs.

"I just feel the council needs to go further in stating why it needs these somewhat draconian new powers to make life better for everybody."

She urged people to take part in the consultation which runs until 22 September.

Image caption,
MP Therese Coffey said the proposed changes were "draconian"

Suffolk Coastal District Council already has restrictions at Felixstowe and Aldeburgh beaches where owners must keep dogs on leads in summer months.

Under its latest proposals, restrictions would be put in force at Shingle Street, near Hollesley, from May to September, and at Landguard Point, Felixstowe, all year round.

Dog owners would have to keep their dogs on leads all-year-round at fenced children's play areas, cemeteries, churchyards, allotments and on pedestrian footways and verges.

They would also have to keep their dogs on leads on sports grounds, fields, greens and pitches when they are in use.

Waveney District Council bans dogs from beaches at Lowestoft, Corton and Southwold in summer months.

Suffolk Coastal would be the first council in Suffolk to impose the other restrictions.

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