DOGS would be excluded from part of Portobello beach during the summer under plans designed to protect toddlers and older people from the unwanted attention of pets.
The sands are popular with dog walkers from across the Capital, but some families have complained about dog fouling and youngsters and the elderly being “unsettled” by dogs off the leash bounding up to them on the beach.
Now proposals have been drawn up by Portobello Community Council aimed at restricting access to up to half a mile of the beach for dogs at the most popular times of year. There would be no enforcement of the informal “ban” proposed, but it is hoped that visitors would abide by what would effectively be a code of conduct for beach visitors.
A public consultation has been launched on the plans that would see the dog exclusion zones come into effect between May and September from 10am and 6pm.
Bob Jefferson, from Portobello Community Council, said: “We recognise this is a very popular place for people walking their dogs.
“We don’t want to discourage people, but there are other people who are frightened of dogs and don’t want them bounding round.”
The proposals include an option asking dog owners to keep their pets on a lead for the halfmile stretch between Pipe Lane and John Street, or away from that section altogether. Other suggestions include a smaller dog-free zone between Bath Street and Bellfield Street, and a final “no change” option.
Terry Magill, who runs “bar on the beach” Dalriada, said: “Dog owners are all very responsible around here, and most people seem to have them on leads. If there was a conscious agreement for a dog-free zone, I am sure they would comply.”
Maureen Child, a Labour councillor for Portobello, said: “This is about encouraging responsible behaviour.”
The city council’s environment convener Lesley Hinds said: “Its a bit like the issue of cycling on the prom where we were able to discuss it and come up with a solution where peoplle are allowed to cycle, but they have to be careful.
“We would be keen to discuss it with the community council and see what would work, perhaps having a trial period. We would also have to take the views of other people. At the end of the day it is a public beach and we have to balance everyone’s needs.”