A GROUP fighting plans to ban dogs on St Ives' beaches during the summer says it is speaking up for local people.
The St Ives Dog Owners' Group (DOG) was formed in response to fears that residents and holidaymakers would be hit by the proposed changes to access rules for dogs.
At present people can walk their pets on Carbis Bay, Porthgwidden, Porthmeor and Porthminster beaches between 7pm and 8am in the summer.
An outright seasonal ban from the Sunday before Easter could be on the cards, however, and a public consultation on the plans is under way.
"We want to make sure that local voices are heard," said DOG member Mike Millward. "There's a feeling that people aren't being listened to."
He said the group, established around four months ago, has carried out a study of other popular Cornish resorts, looking at how they tackle the issue of dogs on their beaches.
Places such as Newquay, Bude and Padstow had seasonal bans but only on around half of the beaches, he said.
"If you're a resident in these towns, although there's a seasonal ban there's no issue for dog-walking because there are other choices," he said. "St Ives doesn't have this choice."
Instead, walkers could take their four-legged friends to Porthkidney at Lelant, Bamaluz and Lambeth Walk.
"Lelant is a six-mile round- trip in the car, so that excludes non-car-owners and people with mobility issues," he said.
"The others are tidal, and if the tide's in there may be days when you can't walk your dog there at all."
The group is asking that the restrictions stay as they are. Members say they are also keen to work towards improving signage and clamping down on those not cleaning up after their pooches.
"We should make examples of people who are continuing to flout the dog-fouling regulations," said Mr Millward, who owns a cocker spaniel. "They need to be brought to book, because they are going against what everyone wants."
The public have until September 28 to contribute their views on the dog ban proposals.
For more information contact St Ives Town Council on 01736 797840 or visit www.stivestowncouncil.co.uk.