RESIDENTS in Christchurch have expressed their anger by the sudden opening of Mudeford Quay car park, as visitors travel to beauty spots under the new lockdown restrictions.

They say that due to the number of visitors it was difficult to stick to social distancing measures.

Laurie Phillip, who has lived in Mudeford for 30 years, said: “In practice the weekend was busy, but not as madly busy as I feared.

“However, it did make social distancing much more difficult since the promenade and walkways had many more people than usual.

“With bikes as well, it became pretty difficult for my wife in her buggy.

“The walkway between the quay and Avon Beach was particularly crowded.”

When the lockdown restrictions were eased, Laurie saw the car park fill with 50 cars by midday and, since then, receive a steady stream of visitors going on walks.

Laurie has said that a lack of sufficient technology, barriers and monitoring of the car parks is allowing some visitors to get away with leaving their cars parked at Mudeford Quay without receiving sufficient penalties.

He added: “More important in the summer months, is that the car park should be manned throughout every day.

“Christchurch Council must have lost untold thousands because there was insufficient wardens and ticketing."

A BCP Council spokesman said: “We, along with our partners Dorset, have been asking people to ‘think twice’ before travelling here from elsewhere.

"We are pleased to open up local facilities so our residents can now enjoy our beautiful natural environment and return to the open spaces they love, but the message to those outside of Dorset is that we would like people not to come.”