New rules to avoid donkey pitch battle

Donkeys on Blackpool beach
Donkeys on Blackpool beach
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Fairer rules are being proposed to ensure Blackpool’s donkey owners have no reason to kick up a fuss when it comes to the allocation of space on the beach.

Council chiefs are also aiming to increase the number of donkey licences from 15 back up to 25 this summer.

The numbers were scaled back in 2007 when work to build the new Promenade restricted access to the beach in places.

But now the full sands are accessible again, it has been decided to reinstate the 25 licences.

At the same time an updated policy has been drafted to ensure fair access to the more profitable donkey pitches.

A rota system is in place but operators often swap informally between themselves.

It is proposed to ban this in the future.

Coun Adrian Hutton, chairman of Blackpool Council’s public protection sub-committee, said: “By reinstating the 25 pitches, we are upholding a pledge we made to donkey operators in 2007 when the number of licences was reduced.

“There has also been some resentment that when operators who have the best pitches are unable to use them, they give them to their mates, and so some people are losing out.

“The council needs to know who is using any pitch at any time in case there are any problems so we are proposing some changes to the policy and we are going out to consult with the trade.”

A report to councillors says: “For ease of enforcement and to reduce conflict, it is proposed the swapping of pitches or the use of unoccupied pitches is not permitted.”

Blackpool’s Donkey Charter date back to 1942 and states the animals must have hour-long lunch breaks and Fridays off.

They are also given ‘donkey MOTs’ ahead of each new season when their hooves, coats and teeth are checked by council vets.