Dog friendly beach plans ditched for Shoebury

Plans for a dog-friendly beach in Shoebury have been scrapped after concerns from residents and environmental bosses.

Following a consultation on whether to designate part of East Beach in Shoebury for dogs all year round rather than just during the winter months, the council has decided to look elsewhere for a more suitable spot.

Natural England and Essex Wildlife Trust raised objections to a dog beach next to the MOD area and adjacent to a Blue Flag beach and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Shoebury Residents’ Association also strongly opposed the plan.

Despite a majority of respondents in the consultation wanting dog-friendly beaches, Shoebury residents objected, fearing a deluge of dog walkers.

At a cabinet meeting on Friday Carole Mulroney, councillor responsible for environment and tourism, said: “This is not closing the door. There are other options and we are going to continue to look into them.

“We knew there would be people who would want all of our beaches to be open to dogs and we knew there were those who object to dogs on beaches at any time at all. There has been a very good response to the consultation. Even those who support a dog-friendly beach express concern about the positioning in Shoebury.”

Cllr Mulroney added: “The residents’ association is a powerful voice and one that I’m going to listen to.

“Also we know our coastline is awash with environmental designations and that’s why it’s always going to be difficult to find an area given the objections we have had from Natural England and Essex Wildlife but our environment is at the top of this administration’s agenda so we have to take them into account.

“They’ve formally objected and we can’t ignore that. Taken with the views of residents it is not my proposal to promote a dog friendly beach at East Beach.”

Stephen Wakefield, Independent councillor for Shoebury, said: “It’s been a very contentious situation.

“I’m glad through the consultation that residents have been listened to. Keeping our Blue Flag beach is top of the agenda for East Beach.

Two Tree Island will remain a dog walking area for the west of the city.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter