October 09 2012
Shocking Council Plans For Abersoch Main Beach

This website raised its fears a few days ago over the dog control consultation process and our very worst fears have been realised.

Gwynedd Council have left their biggest proposed change to the running of Abersoch main beach out of any of the public documentation and you will probably see why, as they intend to make the area from SCYC to the Golf Slipway a dog exercise area and revoke the current dog control order that is in place during the summer.


So, instead of the current situation whereby the vast majority of dog owners take their dogs on the quieter and more appropriate area of the beach between the Golf Slip and Bwlchtocyn, the council want to ban them from here, but then allow them on the busiest area of the beach where the majority of families and young children are located!


We have been told by the council that the whole purpose of this dog control consultation process is "to keep kids away from dog poop", which is why they intend to keep dogs out of kids play areas, playing fields etc, yet, the council are going to do exactly the opposite of this on the main beach by allowing more children to come into contact with dog poop - so it is no wonder that they have left it out of their consultation documentation!


It is also our understanding that this change is, at the very least, not in the spirit of the criteria for awarding a Blue Flag to our beach and potentially a flagrant breach of it.


When we raised this Blue Flag issue with the council yesterday, we were effectively told that they know best and as they have a council employee on the Wales jury for the awarding of blue flags, then it is not an issue. They are quite prepared to ignore criteria 22 for the awarding of blue flags which says ..."It is recommended that a Dog Free zone be created to prevent dogs and other domestic animals from entering the main beach and swimming area" - as, in the eyes of the council, it is a recommendation and not absolutely compulsory! This appears to be a disgracefully blase and arrogant attitude for them to take and a total disregard for the safety of young children. We called the Blue Flag people this morning and they expressed surprise that the council wished to ignore criteria 22. Update: We have had confirmation in writing from the co-ordinator for Blue Flag beaches in Wales that yes, the proposals would endanger the Blue Flag for the Main Beach.


So, what is the reason for this potential change. Well, it appears to be down to the council maritime office wanting to make it easier for their beach control officers to fine people - no other reason has been given. The beach control officers will be actively hunting down and issuing on the spot fines to dog walkers on the quiet area of the beach.

It is this website's view that the current zoning for dogs on the main beach works reasonably well. This proposed change will potentially increase the danger to young children on the busy area of Abersoch Main Beach, and it may lose us our Blue Flag status.


As the consultation process is not fit for purpose, as key information has been withheld by the council from the publically available documentation, we call on the council to scrap their plans for the Abersoch area and start the process again, by consulting with the local population in a more open and honest manner.


We suggest the council look for other ways to create a better environment for everyone eg, by providing dog bag dispensers, better signage, more dog bins and positive ways to address the issue of the area near Footprints.


We are still waiting for further responses from Gwynedd council and we will update you when we have further info.


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