Council reopens beach car parks to help cope with influx of visitors

Council reopens beach car parks to help cope with influx of visitors

by Tom Martin (June 2020)

SEFTON Council has been forced to create a ‘Coastal Action Plan’ to deal with the thousands of people travelling to the borough’s beaches during warm weather.

The local authority, which is still “discouraging people from travelling to Sefton’s coast at this time”, has put together an extensive plan to cope with the huge number of people visiting the 22-mile coastline.

This includes reopening Ainsdale beach and Southport’s Esplanade car parks, emptying litter bins more frequently, giving people free rubbish sacks and implementing a new cashless payment system for parking.

The plan also includes using variable message signs, continuing to issue fines for illegal parking, “expanding staff welfare facilities” and exploring ways to provide public toilets in a safe way.

Another planned measure is to continue and extend Beachsafe, which in previous years has seen local authorities, including the council and police, work in partnership to keep Sefton’s coastline safe.

The Coastal Action Plan was in place last weekend and was hailed a success by the council.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said:  “With people having travelled from as far afield as Manchester, Stoke, Birmingham and North Wales as well as from across the City Region it became clear that we needed to develop this plan.

“In it, we are proposing a wider range of measures to meet the requirements of residents, visitors and employees and our beautiful coastal environment while at the same time keeping them safe in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s national guidelines.

“The restrictions around coronavirus combined have amplified the issues our borough often experiences at coastal locations on busy summer weekends and Bank Holidays, particularly since the government announced aspects of the lockdown were being eased and travel-distances and times for exercise and leisure extended.

“Having drawn up this plan, we will now be working with our partners to implement it over the coming days and weeks ensuring we are at all time in line with national coronavirus guidance.

The council added that £50 fines are still in place to stop people drinking alcohol.

This follows several reports during the hot weather of people leaving empty glass bottles and cans, as well as other litter, on beaches and forcing the council and volunteers to clean it up.

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