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Hope for riders amid worry riding could be banned at popular beach

Those who enjoy riding on a popular beach have been given a shard of hope following the news horses could be banned from the seashore — but are not out of the woods yet.

Havant Borough Council stated in June that it was “looking again” at a 40-year-old by-law that allows riding on Hayling Island beach “as it is putting other beach users at risk”.

Riding is allowed on the beach before 10am and after 7pm, but a statement from the council claimed riders were using the shoreline outside these times.

“During the recent sunny spell there have been a number of incidents where irresponsible horse-riding has posed a risk to people on the beach,” said Cllr Gary Hughes, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet lead for planning, Hayling seafront strategy and commercial services.

“I accept that riding on the shoreline is an activity that has been preserved in our local laws for many decades. However, if it puts other beach users in danger then we must consider whether it is appropriate to allow it to continue during the summer season.”

The news sparked a petition to protect the by-law and allow equestrians to continue to enjoy the beach, which has had more than 6,000 signatures.

H&H contacted Havant Borough Council on 11 August to ask when and how the council would be making its decision.

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While the review is going ahead, the situations that sparked the announcement in June “have not been repeated”.

“The safety of all users of the beach is our paramount concern,” said Cllr Hughes on 13 August.

“We are pleased that we have not seen a repetition of the events of recent weeks. The engagement with the British Horse Society, TV, radio, social media and our website has sought to put out a simple message of self-regulation and consideration.

“We want people to enjoy the beach, mindful of other users. A review of the offshore and seashore by-laws has commenced. They are outdated and do not reflect the wide variety of activities that take place on the beach, many of which did not exist when the bylaws were last updated.”

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