Council keeps car parks open but says they are for 'local use only'
- Credit: James Bass/Ella Wilkinson
A council says it has no plans to shut car parks it owns and operates over lockdown, but that visitors should be reminded they are for "local use only".
Great Yarmouth Borough Council confirmed its sites would remain open until further notice, despite the privately-owned car parks at nearby beauty spots taking the opposite approach to deter visitors from outside the county.
Carl Smith, leader of the council, said the same "influx" of mid-winter visitors to sites like Horsey and Winterton was not being replicated across the borough.
He said: "While Horsey and Winterton often see a localised influx of visitors in mid-winter due to the seal pups, the rest of the borough is very much out of season for this lockdown.
"Council-operated car parks which are usually open at this time of year will continue to be open for now, but clearly they are for use by local residents only.
"We are also mindful that closing some car parks would result in more cars parked on the streets. However, we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
He added that the "vast majority of people who do not live locally" seemed to be playing their part by staying away from the coast for now.
"We have seen sharp rises - locally, regionally and nationally - in Covid infection rates in recent weeks, and the government’s response of imposing a nationwide lockdown and raising the alert level highlights that we all must take this very seriously," he said.
"The clear message is to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives."
The news comes as Horsey Gap car park was the latest on Norfolk's east coast to shut entirely after five fixed penalty notices were handed out by police to revellers from Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and Essex who came to see the seals.
Robin Buxton, who manages the car park on behalf of Horsey Estate, said he recognised we "all have a part to play in keeping people safe", and that he was happy to close the site to "deter people from visiting".
At Winterton, the toilets and car park closed as soon as the national lockdown was announced, with a Facebook post asking people to "stay away" until "better times".
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