Echo readers have had their say as dog-lovers are calling for a public vote to decide whether dogs should be allowed on Southend's beaches during the summer months.

Southend Council's rules against dogs frolicking on the beaches in the summer months have been branded "dated" and "unreasonable" by campaigners who say a vote is the best way to decide whether to lift the ban.

As things stand, dogs are only allowed on the beaches between October 1 and April 30 under the ban.

However, Lee Clark, Confelicity Party candidate for Kursaal, has urged Southend Council to "move with the times", comparing it with rival resorts such as Great Yarmouth and Brighton, which he says have more dog-friendly seafronts.

While a number of readers have agreed with the campaigners, 70.3 per cent of 172 people who voted in an Echo poll on X - formerly Twitter - believe dogs should not be allowed on the borough's beaches from May to September.

Some owners have suggested sections of the seafront should be open to dogs, with a ban only imposed on the busiest beaches, such as City Beach.

Linda Harris commented: "Why not have both, no dogs between Three Shells to Sealife Centre, then dog friendly rest of beach. That's what happens in most places, [you] please everybody that way."

Agreeing, Jodie Leigh added: "At least a portion of the beach would be nice, don’t see why it’s such a big problem to have an area where dogs can go. 

"When we travel around the UK dogs are allowed everywhere, shops, beaches, everywhere, and the residents there don’t seem to find everything such a problem, don’t see why we do, our beach goes on forever!"

A public consultation in November 2020 saw 58 per cent of residents support a dedicated dog-friendly beach. However, following further consultation with people living in Southend, the ban was not lifted.

Darren Lane said: "When all dog owners can be considerate to others, control their dogs and clean up their mess, then a conversation should perhaps take place.

"However, as that will never, ever happen, the dog ban should be forever in place."