Dear editor,

Please, please do not alter the current sensible rules restricting dogs on Tenby’s North Beach between May and September. The change proposed by Councillor Whitehurst to allow dogs on the beach before 10am and after 6pm would be a disaster for Tenby.

We were shocked to hear that Councillor Whitehurst regarded losing our Blue Flag status as an opportunity to scrap restrictions. Most Tenby residents want to regain Blue Flag status for the North Beach, not ditch it!

We walk the North Beach daily, and regularly pick up full dog-poo bags left on the rocks and steps.

At a recent Town Council meeting, Councillor Whitehurst himself admitted that now the summer restrictions have been lifted, there is much more dog mess on the beach.

‘It’s poo-mageddon,’ he said. ‘It is far worse than I thought it would be.’ He went on to remark, ‘It’s hard to make the argument for relaxing restrictions when you see our morning swimmers coming off the beach with bags of dog mess they have collected.’ Speaking at the same meeting, the Mayor noted that even if people did pick up, they usually left piles of bags at the bottom of the steps instead of carrying them up to the bin at the top.

The current rules are clear and have worked well for many years. Dog owners are free to walk their dogs above the North Beach and dogs have free rein on the majority of the South Beach.

The North Beach is primarily used by young families, who play on the beach well before 10am, and use the beach long after 6pm for ball games. Many young children and elderly people are anxious around out-of-control dogs and recently our three grandsons were chased and knocked over by three large dogs on the South Beach.

Since lockdown, many people have not just one, but often two or three dogs. On a recent evening walk, we counted 35 dogs on a small area of the North Beach. Imagine this between May and September, when Tenby’s population swells to over ten times its usual size!

How could beaches possibly be policed with only 1.5 Dog Wardens in the whole of Pembrokeshire? In 2020, dog patrols on Cornish beaches were extended from 71 to 344. Who would pay for an equivalent in Tenby?

Poo-strewn beaches would have a devastating effect on Tenby’s summer tourist trade. We urgently call on the council not to let this go ahead without a full public consultation.