PROPOSALS to introduce mobile-free zones on parts of Bournemouth beach have been put forward by Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Broadcasting House show, which aired yesterday, Mr Ellwood suggested introducing no-phone areas to encourage people to take a break from their work and digital social lives.
The Conservative MP came up with the idea while discussing an initiative launched in the New Forest inviting visitors to lock-up their mobile phones before exploring the area.
Speaking after the show, Mr Ellwood said: “It’s a little bit worrying how over the space of five years we are now carrying our offices with us and our social lives with us everywhere we go. “Why don’t we make time to lose all of that for a while and what better place is there to do that than Bournemouth beach?”
Mr Ellwood said he welcomed plans to bring wi-fi to the seafront but felt quiet zones enabling people to escape from the digital world would be beneficial to some. “There are really great efforts, amazing efforts, to make part of the beach completely wireless-linked so we are contactable at the beach as well,” he said.
“That will attract more visitors who want to be connected all of the time. But there are times when you want to have a break from it and not constantly be looking at your mobile phone.
“I’m not sure if the idea of locking our mobile phones away would work in Bournemouth but I think the idea of quiet zones would be worth considering.”
Your views on ‘no phone’ idea
PEOPLE in Bournemouth had mixed views about the suggestions.
David Doyle said he thought mobile-free zones on the beach would be a ‘silly idea’.
The 54-year-old said: “I always have my phone on me but I don’t sit and stare at it. If people are shouting while using their phone it can be annoying but if people are talking normally, it doesn’t bother me.”
Veronica Doe said: “Young people sit there on their phones and iPads constantly and no one talks to anyone.
“I think it would be nice if people could talk to each other and not have the constant noise of mobiles ringing all the time.”
Heather Haddow, aged 24, said: “I think it’s a nice idea. I guess people would choose to go there but whether they could enforce it or not is another matter.”
Mother of two Amanda Ellis from Southbourne said: “I think everybody needs to switch off from it all once in a while. I’m not sure if the beach needs to be a mobile-free zone, though.”