A DOG ban in parks, play areas, beaches, and other public open spaces in West Somerset which councillors forgot to renew four years ago could be back in place this winter.

Traditionally, dogs have been banned from parts of Minehead beach during the tourism season and all-year-round from the town’s Blenheim Gardens.

But the former Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT) did not make a new order controlling dogs when the existing one expired in 2019.

However, SWT left the signage in place until the oversight was publicly questioned earlier this year and it admitted the legislation had lapsed.

Now, Somerset Council, which replaced SWT in April, has opened consultation on a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for dog control which would run for the next three years.

The council wants to hear people’s views and has set a consultation deadline of Friday, October 6, after which it will decide whether to make a new PSPO.

A council spokesperson said: “Views are invited as to whether the provisions ought to be reinstated as previously existed, additional restrictions applied, or restrictions lifted/amended for three years, the maximum permitted timeframe.”

Town and parish councils across the district have already been consulted by the unitary authority to help draft the new PSPO.

The proposed dog control PSPO would cover:

  • Dog fouling

  • Dogs on lead by direction

  • Dog exclusion zones

It would require anybody in charge of a dog to pick up faeces after their dog fouls anywhere which is open to the public, such as pavements and footpaths, and properly dispose of it.

They would also be banned from taking their dog into any enclosed children’s play area or any enclosed sports facility.

Police or other authorised officials would be able to order a person in charge of a dog to put the animal on a lead if restraint was considered reasonably necessary.

PSPOs are enforceable under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and are used to protect the public from behaviour which has, or is likely to have, a persistent and unreasonable detrimental effect on the quality of life of local people.

A £100 fixed penalty notice can be issued to offenders and if prosecuted the person could be fined up to £1,000.

The only exemptions to the order would be for people who were registered as a blind or with a disability which affected their mobility, and dogs trained by Dogs for the Disabled, Support Dogs Limited, or Canine Partners for Independence.

The full list of 29 areas where Somerset Council is proposing a total ban on dogs is:

  • Minehead Beach from Golf Club Groyne to Harbour

  • Blenheim Gardens, Minehead

  • Irnham Road Recreation Ground, Minehead

  • Childrens Play Area Culvercliffe, Minehead

  • Childrens Play Area, Periton Playing Field, Minehead

  • Cuckoo Meadow Play Area, Whitworth Road, Minehead

  • Children’s Play Area, Warren Road, Minehead

  • Childrens Play Area, Cross Farm Park, Alcombe, Minehead

  • Children’s Play Area, Brushford

  • Junior Playing Field, Hillview Road, Carhampton

  • Crowcombe Village Children’s Play area and Recreation Ground, Crowcombe

  • Sports Field and Kings Corner Recreation Ground, Dulverton

  • Barnsclose Play Area, Dulverton

  • Dunster Marsh Playing Fields, Dunster

  • Packhorse Playing Field, Dunster

  • Dunster Parish Cemeteries, Dunster

  • Football Playing Field, Dunster

  • Dunster Village Gardens, Dunster

  • Dunster Tithe Barn, Dunster

  • Children’s Play Area, Recreation Ground, Porlock

  • Memorial Garden, Recreation Ground, Porlock

  • Childrens Play Area, Timberscombe Play Area, Timberscombe

  • Childrens Play Area, Recreation Ground, Washford

  • Childrens Play Area, Belle Vue, Washford

  • Henry Davey Children’s Playing Field, Watchet

  • Recreation Ground, Wheddon Cross

  • Children’s Play area, Recreation Ground, Williton

  • Children’s Play Area, opposite Memorial Hall, Withycombe

The Minehead Beach dog ban from the golf course groyne to the harbour would only be in force between May 1 and September 30 each year, while for the other areas the exclusion is every day of the year.

Nine areas of West Somerset would be subject to dogs being kept on leads:

  • Lower Parks Walk, Minehead section between entrances at Parkhouse Road and Periton Lane

  • The Esplanade, Minehead Seafront

  • King George V Playing Field Car Park, Minehead

  • Millennium Rose Garden, Minehead

  • Cross Farm Park, Alcombe, Minehead

  • Exmoor House Lawns, Dulverton

  • Porlock Recreation Grounds, Porlock

  • Porlock Churchyard and Cemetery, Porlock 

  • Car park opposite Memorial Hall, Withycombe

More information about the consultation and a questionnaire, which is open to residents, businesses, and visitors to West Somerset, is available online here https://somersetcouncil.citizenspace.com/comms/public-space-protection-order-consultation.

Paper copies are available by calling the council on 0300 123 2224, and draft copies of the PSPO are also available at the following locations:

  • West Somerset House, Williton

  • Porlock Community Library

  • Minehead Library, Bancks Street

  • Dulverton Library, Fore Street

  • Watchet Community Library, 11 The Esplanade

  • Williton Library, Killick Way

  • Nether Stowey Community Library, Castle Street