People urged to ‘think twice’ before travelling to beaches and beauty spots

Traffic jamming the roads at Woolacombe. Picture: Richard Walden

Traffic jamming the roads at Woolacombe. Picture: Richard Walden - Credit: Richard Walden

People are being urged to ‘think twice’ before heading to the region’s tourist and beauty spots following an influx of visitors to the coast and countryside.

The message from Devon County Council (DCC) comes after people flocked to the beaches on Wednesday (May 20), causing problems on coastal roads.

More than 70 Penalty Charge Notices were handed out in the Challacombe Hill area after motorists parked on a clearway.

Andrea Davis, DCC councillor for Combe Martin Rural, met with Woolacombe Parish Council, beach manager and car park operator on Thursday morning (May 21).

She said people should put off their visit until more facilities are open.

Cllr Davis said: “The local community in Woolacombe was inundated yesterday. Police have said that even if car parks had opened with reduced capacity to meet social distancing guidelines, there would still have been problems due to the sheer volume of visitors.

“There is currently no lifeguard cover on the beach, the car parks are closed, the loos are closed, the shops and cafes are closed, so it makes sense if people put off their visit until the county has had chance to re-open.”

READ MORE: North Devon MP calls for common sense and car parks after coastal chaosWith a bank holiday weekend approaching, DCC is among the south west authorities that have joined forces to remind visitors that despite the slight relaxation of lockdown, the region wants people to ‘come back later’.

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With growing concern that local roads will become gridlocked and crowds of people may not be following social distancing guidelines, members of the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) are keen to reinforce the message to think twice about travelling to the South West in order to avoid overwhelming local emergency services and hospitals.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highway management, said: “The weather may make it tempting to take a day trip, but please think twice.

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“Inconsiderate parking is putting unnecessary pressure on our local roads which, in turn, impacts on the local emergency services.

“Parking is limited across the county, as not all communities have re-opened their car parks as yet, but that doesn’t mean that people should leave their car wherever they like.

“The coronavirus and the current lockdown are creating enough challenges for everyone, so at this time we don’t want people needlessly adding to the problems facing communities.

“The best option would be to come to Devon another time when the county is fully open and it is safer to do so.”

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