Blackpool Tories woo dog owners with beach promise
Blackpool's Conservative group is proposing to re-open some areas of the beach to dog owners in a bid to woo voters.
Tory group leader Coun Tony Williams said the idea would be in his party's manifesto ahead of next year's local elections.
The proposal will be mooted as part of a 'doggie forum' organised along with fellow Anchorsholme Conservative councillor Paul Galley.
Dogs are not allowed on the Central Beach between North Pier and the Solaris Centre on South Promenade between May 1 and September 30.
Blackpool Council is currently holding a consultation, which ends on September 25, into plans to update dog control orders in the resort.
A new public spaces protection order would reinforce existing restrictions but also includes five new areas where dogs must be kept on a lead, if it is approved.
Coun Williams said: "All my councillors have received a great deal of complaints about the dog orders consultation.
"My party’s policy has always been to encourage responsible pet ownership and irresponsible owners should be heavily fined.
"However these new proposals amount to, and are leading up to, a total ban on dogs in Blackpool.
"We are holding meetings to show solidarity to responsible dog owners.
"We also believe certain sections of Blackpool beaches should be re-opened to responsible dog owners where dogs can exercise freely and dog owning visitors can once more enjoy bringing their pets to the seaside. "
Dog owners are being invited to a 'doggie forum' in Eastpines Park, Anchorsholme, at 11am on Sunday to discuss issues including the dog orders consultation.
Labour councillor for Marton, Coun Jim Elmes, whose ward includes Stanley Park, said he had also received many emails from residents opposed to the new orders.
He said: "I have two dogs myself and speak to a lot of other dog walkers, and this is causing a lot of alarm judging by the emails I am getting and the people who speak to me.
"It seems to me to be going a bit far but nothing has been decided yet. At the end of the consultation we will see where it goes from there.
"I hope the consultation will take account of all the views being put forward because people do need spaces to let their dogs run, and most dog owners are responsible."