Linzi Kelly, the owner of Southsea Rock in Marmion Road, has achieved success with a petition which she started early in 2014 for dogs to be allowed onto Southsea Beach until May every year.
Currently, Portsmouth City Council prohibits dogs from being on the beach from the beginning of March to the end of September. Linzi’s petition, which has garnered more than 1,000 signatures since its conception, calls for the period of permitted access to be extended to the end of May.
Now, a trial has been put in place which allows dogs onto Southsea Beach until the 31st of May 2015. The trial affects the section of the beach between the Royal Marines Museum in Eastney and Southsea Castle.
At the time of writing, dogs are allowed on the eastern end of Eastney Beach and the parts of the shore between Clarence Pier and Old Portsmouth throughout the entire year. Supporters of the petition therefore felt that opening the full stretch of Southsea Beach for all-year-round access to dogs shouldn’t be an issue.
When online community group and local events firm Love Southsea broke news of the petition on their Facebook page in March 2014, local man Jon Good commented: “I don’t see why we can’t take our dogs on the beaches all year round. The dog owners clear up after their animals. It’s a pity the adults/children don’t clear up their rubbish too.”
Other Portsmouth residents, however, felt differently. Another Portsmouth resident by the name of Nick Moore wrote: “There are areas of the beach that don’t ban dogs, so at the moment dog lovers and those less keen can both enjoy those different areas. We also have a huge problem in Pompey with irresponsible owners who don’t clean up after their dogs. Sadly the reality of this means restrictions that apply to all.
“Sorry, but I think it should stay as it is.”
Linzi, the woman behind the petition, has two dogs of her own. Another dog owner who expressed support for the reduced ban and spoke positively of the petition upon its initial release last year is Linda Symes, who is Portsmouth’s Conservative Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure, and Sport.
Residents who are in support of the petition and the reduced ban it hopes to bring about have cited Brighton and Poole as two other coastal cities which only ban dogs on their beaches between the months of May and September.
Those not in favour of the lighter ban, on the other hand, refer to concerns over children playing with dog mess they find on the beach which owners don’t take responsibility for, or erratic behaviour from dogs which could lead to injuries in both children and adults. Supporters have typically responded to these fears by pointing out that dangerous items such as broken glass are regularly found on voluntary beach cleans along Southsea Seafront.