DOG walkers and businesses have mounted a campaign to prevent pets being banned from a town’s popular beaches during the summer.

The move follows Seaham Town Council's call to Durham County Council to consider a dog ban between The Slope and Seaham Hall beaches in the new year as part of a review, following complaints of dog fouling.

Resident Eve Richardson, who has launched a petition to prevent a ban, said: “If they stop dogs coming down here, businesses are going to be absolutely devastated. We have created a town where dogs are accepted in about every bar.

The Northern Echo: Dog walkers have mounted a campaign to prevent a ban of their pets from beaches in Seaham Picture: GAVIN ENGELBRECHTDog walkers have mounted a campaign to prevent a ban of their pets from beaches in Seaham Picture: GAVIN ENGELBRECHT

“If they prevent dog walkers from using the beach small businesses, specially on the Harbour Marina, will be affected because dog walkers will just not come down here any more.”

She added: “The town council has had complaints about irresponsible dog owners who won’t pick up their dog mess after them.

“We are a group of responsible dog owners and have set up a working group called Seaham Save our Seafront (SOS). We have launched a petition which has about 800 signatures already.

“We want Seaham to maintain its reputation as a dog-friendly society. We are against any regulations being put in place and want to work in consultation with the council to implement sensible solutions that take account of public opinion."

The only area of beach left, if a ban goes ahead, could be Noses Point which is not accessible to the elderly or disabled, she said.

Andrew Smith, a local business owner, said: “Dog walkers are creatures of habit and if not allowed to go in the summer then in the winter (the businesses) which rely on dog walkers will be close.

“I can understand a ban on the beaches during a certain time in the summer, but mornings and evenings would cause a problem for all of the walkers. I’ve found more nappies, glass and hooks on the beach than dog mess.”

County Council neighbourhood protection manager Ian Hoult said: “In June 2017, we introduced a public space protection order (PSPO) across County Durham, which empower us to take enforcement action against owners who do not pick up after their dogs, allow their dogs to stray, fail to put the animal on a lead when requested to do so by an authorised person and take it into certain fenced off parks. The order lasts for three years, until 2020, when it will be reviewed and amended if required. We have been approached by Seaham Town Council with a request to ban dogs from certain beaches in the area. This will be considered within the PSPO review and, if it is felt that it could be beneficial, we would conduct a public consultation with a range of options to gather people’s views.”