The Leader will make a presentation on the Beach Management Plan and the main focus of the presentation would be to address the following question:
“How is the Beach Management Plan working out and in the light of experience so far, are there any changes likely to be made?"
Councillor Everitt, the Leader of Council made a presentation and made the following points:
· The Beach Manage Plan was developed and shared with the public via the council website;
· Alongside the Plan was the Beach Safety Booklet which would be useful for the public and Council’s partners that include the RNLI and Your Leisure;
· Council was taking action on issues that the public had raised as concerns. This included issues like anti social behaviour;
· Bye laws were now in the safety booklet which would be circulated to the public. In the booklet were bye laws for managing the beach. These required updating. The updated version would be in place hopefully by next summer;
· Council was taking action against irresponsible and inconsiderate parking
· Council had reacted to the request for more public toilets to be opened for extended hours. Extra cleaning staff were now on duty for the busy beaches;
· Seafront lifts were currently closed because of the current social distancing regulations and council was trying to find ways to re-opening the use of this facility;
· Council was ensuring that all businesses using the beaches and foreshores had sufficient licenses and insurances for trading;
· Council was also enforcing appropriate behaviour for launching of boats;
· Although there were some challenges, beach huts were now in place. Council had worked with Your Leisure on this issue;
· Council staff had worked hard to deal with the large amount of litter left on beaches and foreshores; Another 50 large bins were going to be provided at designated points along the beaches. This was a continuing challenge for the council, but the council was working hard to resolve these issues;
· This summer a number of agencies were working together much more than before to resolve the issue;
· There was a communications plan to deal with the messaging of information relating to the beaches.
In response Members made comments and asked questions as follows:
· What enforcement did the council take in connection with barbeques at beaches?
· There would be more notification of bye laws on signage? Can we put more layman’s terms on those bye laws for greater clarity for the public, particularly regarding access to the beaches?
· The enforcement policy of use of laughing gas canisters?
· Was there a list for the seaweed removal? There was a problem at points in Westgate and Birchington (Apple Bay, West Bay and Saint Mildreds). Can there be a review of how this can be removed?
· Weekend Beach Supervisor. Could councilors contact the supervisors? What was the process for turning bye laws into PSPOs?
· Can there be district wide PSPOs?
· Foreness Bay is not indicated as a PWC user. However it should as they have two jet ski clubs and they have strict boat and jet ski users codes of conduct. They should be reflected as that in the safety booklet;
· Are there any measures to target dogs' mess?
Responding to Member queries and questions, Councillor Everitt sad the following:
· Barbeques were not permitted before 6.00pm;
· Yes council was working on new bye laws and it was hoped that the language used would provide clarity for the public;
· The canisters were legally obtained and the district commanders were aware of this challenge;
· The council had requested Kent Police to make a presentation at a Members briefing in relation to issues relating to beaches;
· Access to smaller beaches was a problem. Material is taken to a farm on a special licence. Quantity removal would be linked to what the council could lawfully dispose of on landfill available;
· Signage for cycling on the promenades;
· Signage will be put up on pinch points;
· The role for members would be to highlight issues for officers to consider, but not to ask officers to come and collect bins?
· Council would continue to look at the possibilities of having beach huts in Ramsgate;
· Turning Bye Laws into PASPOs is a complicated exercise. Council would be going through some of the bye laws and review whether there can be turned into PSPOs;
· Having district wide PSPO would be problematic in terms of enforcement because the council would need to enforce that. Officers were could consider that option;
· It is quite a large area but we do have enforcement officers. Most of the offending takes place in the mornings.
Thereafter Members thanked the Leader and noted the presentation.