LAST week’s parking chaos was just one element of the problems besetting BCP and our influx of visitors. The council’s leadership is quick to note a record number of tickets issued, but it still did not get round the yellow lines as it should have done.

On just a quarter-mile stretch of the West Overcliff which had seen no enforcement during last month’s bank holiday weekend nor on the first of the two hot days last week, an inspection at 8pm on the second day recorded 89 illegally-parked cars and not one ticket. Or to put it another way, almost £5,000 worth of revenue that could have been used to help with BCP’s financial black hole.

But it’s not just about the money; nor even the danger and blocked pavements which forced hundreds of residents to have to walk on the road. It is about the strategic failure of the council to learn the lessons from the bank holiday; to ensure the staff were in place to cope with the entirely-predictable numbers arriving; and above all to send out the right messages which would make a difference in the future.

The thousands who descended from London and the Midlands don’t read the Echo or listen to Dorset’s local radio to hear calls to stay away.

They see people parking anywhere they want; holidaying for free in tents on the sand; using beach huts, parks and private property as lavatories; lighting fires all over the beaches and parks; and gathering in groups of 30 or 40. And getting away with it. They saw it on the bank holiday and they returned last week.

They saw it again last week so what will prevent it happening again on sunny days over the rest of the summer?

BCP Council, working with the police, should have ensured there were sufficient staff on duty to send out the message that these activities will not be tolerated. That is the only way to prevent the same thing happening time and time again.

The leadership should stop blaming everybody else and admit their failure to make the strategic decisions necessary to safeguard its residents.


Bournemouth Central Ward, BCP Council