Decision to fence off Felpham beach area criticised by residents

The area as it was, and the area now that it has been fenced off.
The area as it was, and the area now that it has been fenced off.

A council decision to fence off a public green area to protect it from dog fouling has been criticised by residents.

The fence was put up around a green area in front of some beach huts on Felpham beach to stop dog fouling in the area as the fence is 'too high for dogs to jump over'. The decision has caused some anger amongst residents and beach-users.

A poll put out on social media asked readers of the Observer which they preferred; a fenced off area, or an open area. At the time of writing, 714 readers took part in the poll with 82 per cent saying they would rather the green space was left open and only 12 per cent being happy with the decision.

Commenting on social media, Mo Cook said: "Makes it look as though it is a private beach hut estate. These are only council owned, not private beach huts. How many who rent them are local? You may say everybody can come into this and yes they can but most people won't.

"At least they should have the barrier behind the benches. These are memorial benches and should not be fenced off. I would like to know how many of the tenants objected and agreed with this?"

Colin McKenzie said: "If it's because of dog owners not cleaning up after their dogs then step up the patrols and fine them. Why should all have to suffer because of the ignorant few?"

In a statement, Karl Roberts, director of place at Arun District Council said: “As the fence is too high for dogs to jump over, it is hoped less fouling will occur as it is suspected that this happens when dogs are being walked off the lead either late in the evening, or early in the morning.

“The issue of dog fouling in this area has been ongoing, making it extremely unpleasant for those who lease the beach huts, and for everyone wishing to enjoy this stretch of green, so we are confident this measure will see results.

“Although the majority of dog owners in Arun are responsible, we would urge everyone to pick up after their pets to keep our beautiful district clean.”

Hazel Baker said: "Where are people with mobility problems supposed to sit now when they need a break from walking? Thoughtless decision."

A spokesman for Arun District Council said: "Access to the grass remains unrestricted via the gates on the western and eastern end of the green, and dogs are not banned from the area."

Tracey Vickery called the fenced off enclosure a 'ridiculous idea' sand said: "I often sit on the benches whilst the children play within our sight on the beach."