Bournemouth residents ‘have had enough’ of beach chaos

Bournemouth beach on 25 June 2020Image copyright
PA Media

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People have travelled to Bournemouth from as a far away as Birmingham

Residents have reacted angrily to the Bournemouth and Poole beach chaos over the past two days.

One Bournemouth resident has set up a petition to “close the beaches in the interest of public health” while others want “out of town traffic to stop”.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has suggested beaches could be closed by the government if infections rise.

A major incident was declared in Bournemouth on Thursday after thousands visited the Dorset coast.

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Getty Images/Finnbarr Webster

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Residents volunteered to litter-pick on Frday after tonnes of waste were left on the sand overnight

‘Blockade the roads’

Resident Sabrina Fitzsimons said: “This ludicrous behaviour in our home town has gone on long enough.

“It’s time to close the beaches in the interest of public health and environmental protection.

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Dorset Devils

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Lots of nitrous oxide bottles, or laughing gas, were found on Bournemouth beach

“Local people have had enough…it’s time for change. Blockade the roads, close car parks, monitor access. Whatever it takes but this has to stop.”

Her petition has so far gained 390 signatures and will to be sent to Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council leader Vikki Slade.

Resident Bethany Lewis wants to keep the beaches open to locals only.

She said: “We pay for a beach hut at Bournemouth, we live 10 minutes away from Bournemouth beach, why should we give up our beach just cause the government and local MPs can’t handle the country? People need to stay within their postcode, that is that.”


Lianne Sharpe said: “I live five minutes from the beach. I just want the traffic from out of town to stop. The cars were parked illegally on every available bit of street.”

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council said 33 tonnes of waste was cleaned up along the coastline on Thursday morning, along with eight tonnes collected between the piers on Wednesday.

Local volunteers turned up from 05:00 to help the seafront rangers clear up rubbish left on the beaches.

Local litter-picking group Dorset Devils said they found “hazardous waste nitrous oxide canisters, broken glass, nappies, wet wipes all on the beach”, and “human-made toilets and a pair of men’s underpants by the shoreline.”

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Council leader Vikki Slade was at Bournemouth beach this morning to assess the clean-up operation

Chris Poggi from the group called it “soul-destroying” to find more rubbish after collecting eight rubbish bags full.

‘Absolutely disgraceful’

Dorset Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ian Girling called the scenes on Bournemouth beach “absolutely disgraceful”, and part blamed it on “a worrying lack clarity from the government”.

He said: “It would have been common sense to ask people to remain in their home counties while we recover from the crisis and to give places like Dorset time to prepare to welcome visitors back.

“The contradictions and mixed messaging in government advice has clearly led to a general disregard of the rules by many people.”

He has called for “stronger messaging” for the public ahead of 4 July, when pubs and restaurants are allowed to reopen.

‘We were well-prepared’

Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council leader, Vikki Slade, said the council had been “incredibly well-prepared” for the influx of beach-goers.

She said: “All our toilets were open, all of our traffic enforcement team were on duty, extra police were here, we’ve employed security guards for the beach to help with public order, there’s very little else we could do without powers.

She added: “We asked weeks ago for powers to stop people travelling so far.

“There are six million people who were furloughed, of course they’re going to want to come to the beach when the sun comes out.”

BBC News