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‘It is so wrong’ - Facebook group urging boycott of village slammed by locals

PUBLISHED: 14:12 20 July 2020 | UPDATED: 11:49 21 July 2020

Beach Road is a holiday hub for tourists, and a call to boycott attractions just as the holiday seasons tries to slip back into gear has caused

Beach Road is a holiday hub for tourists, and a call to boycott attractions just as the holiday seasons tries to slip back into gear has caused "heartbreak" Picture (pre-lockdown): James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2016

A seaside village is calling on people not to align themselves with a bid to boycott its attractions, declaring it welcomes tourists “with open arms.”

Hemsby borough councillor James Bensly is keen to defuse a bid to boycott Hemsby, launched on Facebook Picture: Liz CoatesHemsby borough councillor James Bensly is keen to defuse a bid to boycott Hemsby, launched on Facebook Picture: Liz Coates

As lockdown has eased and people have been allowed back to their holiday homes and on caravan parks a Facebook group, called Boycott Hemsby, says it aims to “warn” locals about their behaviour in response to some residents’ reported “hostility and rudeness” towards visitors.

The group has some 90 members, many of whom disagree with the cold-shoulder claims, saying Hemsby very much welcomes visitors.

James Bensly, who owns a cafe and attractions in the village and whose borough council ward includes the area, said he was “heartbroken” when he found out about the request to spurn the village, a second home for generations of happy holidaymakers.

“As if this season has not been hard enough,” he said.

The beach at Hemsby in 2015.  Picture: James BassThe beach at Hemsby in 2015. Picture: James Bass

“We now have this challenge.

“Hemsby has gone above and beyond in terms of safety and we had some excellent feedback over the weekend from visitors about how safe they felt.

“It is an already hard year and if we can sit down and have a discussion and defuse this that would be great.

“We have to nip it in the bud.

A Facebook group urging people to boycott Hemsby has caused alarm among traders who have spent A Facebook group urging people to boycott Hemsby has caused alarm among traders who have spent "a small fortune" on PPE and sneeze screens to make it safe for visitors and residents Picture: Facebook

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“This is a global pandemic but Hemsby might be the only resort with a campaign to boycott it, and it is totally undeserved.

“I understand people are anxious but I cannot see anything positive in a social media account like this for anyone.

“They have probably been coming for years and have taken offence at a comment made at the height of lockdown.

“If people do not feel welcome because of one comment, please do not deny yourself.

“We welcome you with open arms.”

Lorna Bevan at the Lacon Arms said of the page: “I disregard it totally.

“It is just not the truth. The more you answer them the more they grow.

“Everyone here is open and people have gone to great expense to do it.

“It is just so wrong to make people feel unwelcome.

“No-one has the right to a town or a village. We are lucky we live here - why shouldn’t we share it?”

The organisers of the Facebook group have been contacted for comment.


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