THE leader of BCP Council has urged people from outside Dorset to delay any visit to the area until lockdown measures are relaxed on July 4.

Councillor Vikki Slade’s comments followed chaotic scenes on Wednesday with thousands of people travelling down to make the most of the hottest day in the county in almost two years.

She said with many businesses, including hotels, still unable to open visitors could not be given “the full experience” and urged people to put off trips until at least next month.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, she said the council had been expecting significant numbers of visitors and that preparations had been made.

Bournemouth Echo:

She said council employees’ shifts had been rearranged and recruitment efforts stepped up leaving it in a better position than last month.

“The difficulty is that hotels are closed so those people that would come down for a few days and park in a hotel car park can’t,” she said. “Those people who might come down and go for a meal and go to the attractions can’t because they’re closed.

Visitors flock to Dorset

There have been countless reports of people behaving badly at Bournemouth beach - parking irresponsibly and illegally, littering, urinating, jumping off the pier. Traffic was also gridlocked.

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“That’s the reason why we’ve been asking people to stay away where they’re not local.”

She said people living in the area who can take advantage of the good weather to visit the beach “absolutely should” but said the scenes of people queuing for hours in traffic were “crazy”.

Bournemouth Echo:

Until the government further relaxes restrictions brought in in response to the coronavirus pandemic, many hospitality-orientated businesses are not allowed to reopen.

Cllr Slade said visitors coming from outside the area should wait until after the July 4 date to make more of their trip.

Footage by Max Cartridge

“This isn’t about telling local people they can’t go to the beach, this is the message we’ve been putting out there which is ‘we’re not ready for outside visitors because we can’t give you the full experience’,” she said.

“Please stay away until July 4 and by that time the restaurants will be open, the attractions will be open, you’ll have more choice of where to go, the hotels will be open so you won’t be tempted to do illegal things like park where you shouldn’t and camp where you shouldn’t.”

Bournemouth Echo:

Bournemouth Tourism is now also urging people to stay away until July 4. 

Posting on their Facebook page today, they said: "We know it’s hot today but please #StayLocal. We politely ask that you STAY AWAY from our beaches, for now.

"We would normally love to welcome you but for now please stay away and stay safe. #RespectProtectEnjoy #LoveBournemouth."

Cllr Slade said there were “many, many more” staff on duty this week to deal with the influx of day trippers and that this would continue to increase into next month.

But while the RNLI was still not operating with a full complement of lifeguards more of a focus was being put onto public safety rather than dealing with anti-social behaviour.

Cllr Slade said council staff were dealing with “a large number” of first aid incidents but were prepared to cope with visitors coming to the area during the warmer spell.