Instow Parish Council has said it could now be ‘a few weeks’ until restrictions on dogs are brought in for Instow Beach.

As the Gazette reported last week, the council had intended to place signs asking people to keep their dogs off the beach between May 1 and September 30.

The plans sparked fury among dog walkers and a meeting last week to approve the wording on the signs ended in disarray and without a decision following ‘disruption’ from the public in attendance.

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The council and its chairman Brian Moores has maintained that it was agreed in principle at a meeting in February to erect signs for a beach sharing ‘code of conduct’, based on the outcome of a survey by the parish council.

He said the restrictions could not begin until the signs were in place, but the council was confident this would happen within the next few weeks.

The council says of the 52 per cent of the electorate who responded, almost three quarters were in favour of some form of restriction on dogs.

The area in question is the stretch between the Quay and Lane End Road.

The plans have sparked fury and divided opinion on social media, Dominique Luton posted: ‘I’m very upset about this. Basically all the beaches are out of bounds during the summer. Disgusting…’

Neil Smart added: ‘If all the dog walkers boycott Instow in the winter months, I would imagine the shop and pubs would struggle for trade’.

But others were in favour – Marie Fishwick said: ‘Wonderful, at least the children can play on the beach for the summer, with less dog poo to dig into the sandcastles’.

And Nicki Jenner said: ‘Controversial I know but I’m also a dog owner who goes to Instow regularly. I agree that some control is needed’.

Instow parish councillor Pearl Hackett told the Gazette she was at the February meeting when the code of conduct was agreed.

She said: “I did not hear the words ‘dog restrictions’ and did not know which part of the beach would be affected when the map and signage was put in the public domain at the April meeting.

“We were told it was already agreed by the council and would go ahead. I did not vote for any of this.

“Businesses will suffer and Instow has been dragged through the mud again as usual by IPC doing what they see as their duty of care. All this could have been settled differently.”

But the chairman Mr Moores said he found it hard to believe she was unaware the code included dog restrictions.

He said the recommendation referred to ‘a beach-sharing code of conduct for users of the beach in line with the results of the survey’.

He added: “Since the survey concerned dog restrictions it is clear that this is what the beach-sharing code relates to.

“The important point is that the council decided in favour and all councillors are obliged to accept the decision.”