A leading councillor who backed pet lovers opposing dog control proposals has welcomed watered down plans revealed by the council.
Coun Tony Williams, the leader of the opposition in Blackpool, criticised initial plans for the new public space protection orders (PSPOs), but has now praised changes, which include scrapping a rule that professional dog walkers feared would put them out of business. “This is certainly a huge victory for all the town’s dog owners and our own petitioners,” he said.
As well as plans to limit the number of dogs being walked by one person to four being scrapped, so was a move to ban non-microchipped dogs going off-lead in public, and a proposed minimum age for children walking their dogs.
The new orders will mean dogs must be kept on leads on the Promenade and Middle Walk, at the Starr Gate tram circle, and on South Promgrass embankment.
Cabin Walk will be an area for dogs on leads when asked.
Existing orders for dogs to be kept on leads in the Italian Gardens and Café Terrace in Stanley Park will be relaxed, so it becomes a seasonal restriction from 10am-4pm from May 1 to August 31 each year. Meanwhile, plans to ban dogs from ponds and wetlands will be lifted, with owners only forced to put leads on their pets when asked by a council officer. Dogs will also not be excluded from sports pitches except when they are being used.
Dog walkers will still be forced to show they have a way of picking up their pet’s mess when challenged by council staff.
Paul Maynard (inset), MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys said: “I’m pleased to see Blackpool Council has listened to the views of the public in drawing up these final proposals.
“I believe in a balanced approach, which rewards responsible dog owners while rightly targeting those who do not respect our communities.”