Plans to prevent staycationer hell, rolled out by Dorset Council

With a high influx of tourists expected as soon as lockdown travel restrictions ease, Dorset Council says it’s putting in robust measures to prevent some of the worst acts of antisocial behaviour experienced last summer in places like Swanage, Studland and Lulworth.

In 2020, beaches became overcrowded and there were problems with littering, illegal parking and outdoor toileting across Dorset. This year, it’s likely to be very busy again, with staycationers wanting a summer holiday but unlikely to be able to travel abroad until later in the season.

Rubbish left around Swanage bins
Swanage Coastguard

Rubbish abandoned on Swanage seafront in summer 2020

Prevent a repeat of last year’s problems

Now with government funding from the Covid Response Fund, Dorset Council is allocating a substantial slice of the money to prevent a repeat of last year’s problems.

Plans include:

  • More civil enforcement officers (parking wardens)
  • The ability to tow away illegally parked vehicles
  • More bins and waste collections
  • Prominent no barbecue signs
  • Additional electronic signage warning when car parks are full
  • Volunteer ambassadors to welcome visitors to local beauty spots and historic towns
  • A possible temporary ban on beach camping
  • Working with farmers to open up additional camping and parking areas for camper vans
Durdle Door closed sign
Poole Police

“Once we see the roads getting busy we’ll be taking action”

Speaking to Swanage.News, councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said:

“Purbeck is one of the areas that we will be focussing on, following the scenes at Durdle Door last year. We really don’t want people coming to Swanage, if Swanage is full, although we don’t want to turn away the business that tourists bring either, so we’ve invested a lot in new electronic signs to advise visitors.

“It’s no secret that we will have a control centre and will be monitoring the traffic and once we see the roads getting busy we’ll be taking action. Local residents can be confident that we will be ready to react.”

Cars parked in Ferry Road in Studland
Swanage Coastguard

Parked cars block Ferry Road in Studland in summer 2020

Tow away illegally parked cars

Dorset Council has also put in place the means to tow away illegally parked cars, especially those blocking the path of emergency vehicles, which happened along Ferry Road in Studland last summer.

Disposable barbecues will be strongly discouraged

The use of disposable barbecues will be strongly discouraged and the fire service will be putting out no barbecue signs in areas where there is a risk of heath and grass fires in areas like Durlston Country Park.

The council says it is also looking at innovative ideas like electric hot plate installations at key locations to provide an alternative to the use of disposable barbecues.

The response team coordinating this summer’s plans include Dorset Police, Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Dorset health partners and BCP Council. They say they’ll be working together to tackle some of the more undesirable experiences from last year.

No barbecues sign
Purbeck Police

“Behave with respect for the area they are visiting”

However despite the deterrents, councillor Ray Bryan added:

“We do want to make the most of a significant increase in the number of people wanting to visit Dorset this year. This is an opportunity to show others just how desirable Dorset is.

“We don’t want to discourage people from coming but we do want them to behave responsibly when they arrive.

“We can only do so much though, to influence individuals’ behaviour. We hope the measures we put in place will have a positive effect, but the responsibility is on the visitors themselves to behave with respect for the area they are visiting.”

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