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Council announce new beach byelaws

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT BOROUGH COUNCIL have used a press release to announce new rules aimed at tackling any dangerous, damaging, and anti-social behaviour seen across the town’s multiple coastline beaches; which were approved by councillors at a recent Town Hall meeting and are due to come into effect from July 22.

The rules, called seashore byelaws, have been designed to improve safety and peaceful enjoyment of the coastlines in Gosport; replacing a previous list dating back more than 60 years. They have been shaped and supported by many public consultations of local residents, with current issues considered in their publication.

Rules are mostly focused on activities such as launching jet skis, lighting barbeques, and parking outside of designated areas; whilst a ban on horse riding, fires and releasing lighted sky lanterns is included. Cyclists must also use already designated areas whilst driving vehicles and riding motorbikes are strictly forbidden.

Residents will furthermore be banned from holding any large parties on Gosport beaches with loud music being played unless approved by council officials; the definition of a ‘large party’ being fifteen people or more according to the finer details. Similarly public performances are forbidden if permission hasn’t been granted.

Alongside these highlights, the byelaws also govern or ban the conducting of certain activities on the entire coastline; stretching from Hardway across to Lee-on-the-Solent. These include: removing signs, erecting structures, kite flying, kite buggies, kite surfing, playing sport games, begging, trading, fishing and bait digs.

Council officers and police have been given greater powers to help enforce these rules; with any offences punishable by spot-fines of £75 or up to £500 if taken to court. Officers are furthermore advised to show an element of discretion when appropriate and mustn’t be obstructed by residents in any enforcement measure.

Liberal Democrat Councillor Peter Chegwyn, Leader of Gosport Borough Council, said in the short press release published via the council website: “These rules are designed to deal with behaviour that can cause danger or annoyance to others. Many of the activities covered are fine if you are considerate and sensible.

He continued: “This usually means simply making sure people nearby aren’t put in danger or disturbed. In many other cases an activity is OK as long as it takes place in a designated area or with the council’s consent. Also, officers will use their discretion. This is not about being killjoys, it’s about stepping in when ordinary people, trying to enjoy the seashore, are being affected by anti-social or unsafe behaviour.”

One reader of the Globe, who wishes to be anonymous, praised the new rules but added they needed to be policed with fairness. They said: “As a regular beach user in Gosport there is plenty of things that annoy me, many of them are included in these new rules. I praise their inclusion of modern issues such as jet-skis but the council must now ensure they are policed with fairness to everybody, or risk the public not complying.”

Readers can examine the full list and details of the seashore byelaws by clicking the PDF document here; with the previous official legislation created by Gosport Borough Council in January 1958 hereby revoked.

PICTURED BY AISLING STEEL: Waves crash against rocks at Lee-on-the-Solent beach on peaceful day.