A PASSIONATE dog-lover is pushing for a public vote to allow residents’ “furry-friends” on the beaches throughout the summer. 

As things stand, dogs are banned on the beaches in summer months and only allowed on between October 1 and April 30 under rules imposed by Southend Council. 

Lee Clark, Confelicity Party candidate for Kursaal, owns a dachshund and a Frenchie-chihuahua cross and has branded the “a bit dated”.

He said: “When I visited Great Yarmouth, I was amazed at how dog-friendly the seafront was.

“Like Southend, Brighton is a very busy city but is one of the most dog-friendly places in the country.

“We need to move with the times. Southend’s attitudes are a bit dated.”

Mr Clark says a public vote is the best way to decide whether to lift the ban.

He said: “Rather than having councillors vote on it, we should open the vote up to the public. Let the people make the choice, with something as simple as a poll on the council’s website.

“People’s main objection is dog mess. If that’s the case, why are dogs allowed on the beaches in the winter?"

Mr Clark is confident that allowing dogs all-year round could benefit the seafront economy.

Echo: Campaigner Lee Clark says allowing dogs on the beach in the summer could benefit seafront businesses.Campaigner Lee Clark says allowing dogs on the beach in the summer could benefit seafront businesses. (Image: Lee Clark)

Carol Mulroney, Liberal Democrat councillor for Leigh, carried out a similar consultation while on the council’s administration last year.

She said: “We did a survey last year which came back in favour, but not everybody wanted dogs on all of Southend’s beaches.

“We don’t want a load of dogs running around on city beach when there are 10,000 people on it.

“My main concern is no matter how well-behaved a dog is, if a child were to pull their tail, you don’t know how they would react.

“I would prefer to have a dedicated area for dogs."

Echo: Lee Clark says Brighton and Great Yarmouth are more dog-friendly.Lee Clark says Brighton and Great Yarmouth are more dog-friendly. (Image: Lee Clark)

Stephen Cummins, a 52-year-old dog owner from Westcliff, has previously campaigned to see dog friendly beaches created in Southend.

He said: “I think the rules are unreasonable and disproportionate.

“How I see it is if someone steals from a shop owner, and every customer is then banned to stop shop lifting, the only people kept out are the people who followed the rules in the first place.

“Those who didn’t and stole something, would still try to get it. It is the same concept with dog walkers.

“This ban isn’t even solving the problem. Irresponsible dog owners will still bring dogs on the beach.”