THE leader of BCP Council has insisted the local authority’s handling of the hottest weekend of the year so far “was a real improvement” on the scenes witnessed across the conurbation last summer.

Residents in areas of Bournemouth and Poole faced drivers parking their cars on double yellow lines, on grass verges, across driveways and even in the middle of roundabouts.

This was after a host of seafront car parks were at capacity before 10am on Sunday.

BCP Council reported that more than 400,000 people visited the area over the weekend.

Members of the Conservative group were critical of the management of visitor influxes in 2020 when the local authority was run by the Unity Alliance administration.

After the Tories took over the leadership of the council in autumn last year, Conservative leader Cllr Drew Mellor said the situation would be improved this summer.

Bournemouth Echo: Cllr Drew MellorCllr Drew Mellor

Following questions from the Daily Echo about the weekend issues, Cllr Mellor said: “We have just experienced the hottest weekend so far this year and given we have the UK’s best beach it’s no surprise that we saw exceptional visitor numbers to our area.

“Hotels have been full, and restaurants and bars busy which is fantastic and much needed for our area. We promised we would make 2021 the year of opportunity and we’re delighted to see the many businesses and attractions in full swing, with visitors and locals alike enjoying themselves.

“We were also very pleased that there was a real improvement on the scenes witnessed last year and our multi agency command control centre was in full operation, and remains in place until the end of September.

“This oversees the seasonal plan’s day and evening operations, responding in real time to issues that arise when the resort experiences an increase in visitor numbers.”

BCP Council reported that 89 tonnes of waste was collected from more than 650 bins, more than 40 missing children were reunited with families and more than 800 parking tickets were issued.

The local authority’s new park and ride service from King’s Park to Boscombe was reportedly used by more than 570 people.

Cllr Mellor said there was an increase in people “choosing to park irresponsibly” but said enforcement officers were on the ground to respond to this.

More tickets were issued on Sunday than on the busiest day last year, he said.

“We will continue to look at how we can improve our efforts on this one area that is still causing significant problems whilst reflecting that as the number one beach in the UK and top 20 worldwide, we are going to be busy on weekends like this,” said Cllr Mellor.

“It is unfortunate that some people chose to ignore the rules and I would like to assure residents that we prioritise key areas to ensure main routes remain accessible.”

He added: “Credit goes to the officers across the council and our wonderful partners, the police, fire and other authorities who have been on alert and taking action throughout the whole weekend.”