A PROTEST march against council plans to ban people from walking their dogs on Wirral beaches takes place on Sunday afternoon.

The authority is set to bring in tough new measures that include banning dogs from certain areas altogether, as well as others where owners will now have to keep them on leads at all times.

The proposed rules - subject to a public consultation that ends on July 15 - include a ban on dog walking between May and the end of September in tourist hotspots such as New Brighton, Meols and West Kirby beaches, as well as various areas of Birkenhead Park.

Sunday's protest walk, starting at Leasowe Lighthouse on Sunday at 4pm, has been organised by Amanda Lancaster, who regularly walks her dog Indi at the 'gunsite' in Leasowe.

Mrs Lancaster told the Globe: "Many of the older people that I chat to at the 'gunsite' are absolutely devastated as this will ruin their lives as their dogs ARE their lives and the only chance they get to meet and chat to people.

"If the council bring in parking charges a lot of these people won't even be able to afford to go to the beaches, even if the dogs were not banned!

Wirral Globe:

Amanda Lancaster with Indi

"In one breath they are trying to promote fitness, in the next they are making people pay in order to become fit!!! 

"All this control is just awful and unless people start  standing up for their rights ... we're doomed!" 

The planned new rules are part of the council's Public Spaces Protection Order, which would also mean dog owners needing spare poo bags.

The council said there will still be "over 20 miles of unrestricted beach" for letting dogs off the lead all year round, and outside of the warmer season, dogs would be able to go anywhere on the bathing beaches.

The following three maps show the exact locations for the bans on dogs at Wirral’s tourist hotspots:

Wirral Globe:

Wirral Globe:

Wirral Globe:

Aside from tourist hotspot bans, there are various other areas where the rules for dog walking have changed.

A full list can be found in the council’s Dog Control Orders, published here: https://www.wirral.gov.uk/sites/default/files/all/environmental%20problems/Dog%20control/Proposed%20Sites%20for%20Dog%20Control%20Orders%20-%20June%202018.pdf

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions over where dog owners would be able to walk their pets under the new rules:

Would dogs be allowed in parks and country parks?

Yes, but there would be dog-free areas of the park like children’s play areas and marked sports pitches during the season under the PSPO.

Children’s play areas are already dog-free, so the PSPO does not mean a change from the current policy.

In some places like picnic areas, dogs would now need to be kept on a lead.

Could I take my dog and my child to the park, or to watch a sports match?

Yes, but you would not be able to take the animal into the designated dog-free zones, including into the play areas, or onto the pitch during the sports season.

Would dogs be allowed on golf courses?

They would be allowed on public footpaths that cross the course, but not on the courses themselves.

What about bowling greens and tennis courts?

No, dogs would not be allowed on these – a rule that would apply all year round.

Could I leave my dog tied up to the railings if I go into a dog-free zone without them?

The council said while this isn’t banned under the PSPO, it advises to never leave your dog unattended unless there are "exceptional circumstances".

Where would dogs have to be kept on leads at all times?

In defined locations such as cemeteries, allotments, public car parks and picnic areas.

Dogs are currently banned from cemeteries altogether, so under the new PSPO, this approach would actually be relaxed.

Announcing the plans, Cllr Matthew Patrick, cabinet member for environment, said: "Wirral is a beautiful place to live and work, but we know from listening to residents that a small minority aren't playing their part in helping keep it that way.

"Our proposals will make Wirral a nicer place for all families. Wirral has acres of beautiful beaches; there is more than enough room for dogs and families to enjoy."

More details about the proposed rules and how to have your say can be found here: https://www.wirral.gov.uk/environmental-problems/dog-control-orders

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