A visitor to Lytham St. Anne’s from Cumbria was enjoying an early morning stroll with her spaniel along the sands when she unknowingly wandered into the restricted area between St. Anne’s Pier and the Lifeboat Station. To her surprise she was approached by one of the new District Enforcement Officers and hit with a £100 fixed penalty notice. Under council rules, dogs are not allowed on the beach between St Anne’s Pier and the Lifeboat Station, with a lead or without, at any time between Good Friday and the end of September.
However, the visitor, Alex Greenwood entered the beach with her eight year old spaniel, Bunty, some distance from the exclusion zone. As a consequence, Alex claims she had no way of knowing about the rule, as the signs on the Promenade approach to the stretch of sands affected rather than on the beach itself.
Following up this incident, Alex Greenwood told the Blackpool Gazette, ‘When the officer approached me, I apologised and said I had no idea about the exclusion zone, as I was a visitor and there was no signage at Fairhaven Lake about the zone.’
‘The officer said she was still going to fine me £100, even though she agreed that there was no signage about the exclusion zone at the Fairhaven Lake entrance. Apparently there is signage on the slipway at the Lifeboat Station but I hadn’t entered the beach there.’
Alex appealed – but received this reply from District Enforcement, ‘The council have sufficient signage in place to deter people from walking their dogs in the exclusion zones and therefore in these circumstances, the fixed penalty notice is considered justified. It is the responsibility of the dog owner to be aware of the controls in place.’
Alex concluded by saying to the Blackpool Gazette, ‘I’m really in favour of dog exclusion zones and I have no difficulty with the policy – but the company that is enforcing it does not have a just appeals process and I think locals who run tourism businesses should be warned how visitors will be treated if they aren’t aware of the rules. Plus I think the council has to have clear signs up at all entrances to the beach near the exclusion zone to prevent people like me inadvertently trespassing into it.’