A summer ban on dogs on parts of Instow Beach comes into force from tomorrow (Tuesday).

A draft of the proposed signage for the Instow Beach code of conduct.A draft of the proposed signage for the Instow Beach code of conduct.

Instow Parish Council will vote tonight on wording for signs which will display a code of conduct for beach users.

These will say dogs are not allowed on the stretch between the Quay and Lane End Road between May 1 and September 30.

Dogs are allowed on the rest of the beach but must be kept in sight and under control at all times and owners are asked to clean up after them.

The code of conduct also asks people to take their litter home, bans bonfires and says motorised vehicles are not allowed on the beach unless authorised.

The issue of restricting dogs on parts of Instow Beach has rumbled on for several years.The issue of restricting dogs on parts of Instow Beach has rumbled on for several years.

The issue has proved controversial, with campaigners such as the Dog Walkers Alliance gathering on the beach with their four-legged friends to show their disgust at the proposals, which have rumbled on for five years.

The council says following a survey of the electorate, which saw 52 per cent respond, 247 people - almost three quarters - were in favour of some sort of control over dogs on the beach.

The council agreed in principle to introduce a beach-sharing code of conduct - 'beach sharing' to mean a separate area for dogs - in February and asked its Beach Management Group to prepare the wording for proposed signs.

Earlier this month councillors could not agree on the wording and the meeting ran over time, so an extraordinary meeting has been called for tonight.

Chairman Brian Moores said: "The survey demonstrated the majority of people wanted some form of restriction and that was the basis of it.

"We will be looking towards educating people and those that are unaware and asking them politely can they take their dogs further up. We will monitor it and we need to discuss how that will be implemented."

Mr Moores said the council was working in partnership with Christie Estates, which owns large sections of the beach, though some is also owned by the Crown Estate.

He said the code of conduct would be enforced by peer pressure and was about all aspects of the beach, not just dogs and ensuring it was clean and user friendly for all beach users.

Joanne Bell of the Dog Walkers Alliance said the council had behaved 'in a typically devious and divisive manner' over the whole issue for some six years.

She added: "Are they attempting to obtain a PSPO (public spaces protection order) by the back door at some time in the future? The code of conduct was supposed to be voluntary - yet that word does not appear on the signage leaflet which has been in the public domain.

"Does Cllr Moores seriously think he has earned or won the support and respect of people who use the beach, including most holiday makers who bring their dogs on holiday?"