Wirral has hits first Blue Flag award winning beach, but it comes with restrictions for dog owners.

Harrison Drive beach in Wallasey will be a dog-free zone between 10am and 5pm until September 30, the Liverpool Echo reports .

Wirral Council brought in the ban at the start of May.

Two weeks later, the beach was named among 68 recipients of the world-famous Blue Flag quality mark.

Wirral Council said restricting dogs – which it stressed was 'purely voluntary' – was part of the requirements of being a Blue Flag beach.

It said it believed families would welcome the decision, and owners could still enjoy other beaches across Wirral.

But the move is likely to prove controversial after several past attempts to ban dogs from Wirral’s beaches failed because of opposition from animal lovers.

A council spokesman said: “The beach at Harrison Drive in Wallasey has been named as one of the best in the country, having recently been awarded a prestigious ‘Blue Flag’.

“The restriction on dogs at the new family-friendly area of Wallasey beach is purely voluntary and is part of our requirements as a Blue Flag Beach.

“It simply means that, during May to October, we will encourage members of the public to keep their dogs under control on a designated part of the beach, and will have our coastal rangers on hand to encourage dog owners to use the many other areas of our beaches to exercise their dogs.’

“We feel this new facility will be welcomed by families using the beach throughout the summer, and dog owners can still enjoy the rest of Wirral’s coast and countryside.”