‘Mobbed’ seaside village closes car park and begs people not to visit

Winterton is famed for its beauty and lonely expanse of beach and dunes. But with the coronavirus ou

Winterton is famed for its beauty and lonely expanse of beach and dunes. But with the coronavirus outbreak putting most activities off limits it became too crowded at the weekend leading to fears about exposure to the virus Picture: Liz Coates - Credit: Archant

A seaside village which was ‘mobbed’ at the weekend has pleaded with people not to visit for the sake of its elderly residents.

Fine weather on Sunday (March 22) saw families making a beeline for the wild wilderness of Winterton.

The chocolate box village, with its beach and dunes, draws hordes of visitors and is frequently overwhelmed by the so-called “green welly brigade.

But numbers heading there at the weekend lead to fears about social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic, with so much else off limits.

MORE: Holiday let firm owner ‘in tears’ as daytrippers flock to Norfolk coastIn response, the seaside car park will close at 4pm today (Monday, March 23) with its owners issuing a desperate “stay away” message to the public.

A post on Winterton Beach Car Park’s page said: “We have made the decision to close the car park from 4pm today and would ask all visitors to stay away during these unprecedented times.

“We thought that by keeping the car park open it would help to take any visitors away from the village centre.

“But we did not anticipate such an influx over the weekend.

“With a high number of elderly residents in the village closing the car park is the right thing to do.

“We feel very grateful that people wish to visit our beach and use our car park and we thank all our loyal patrons for their support but please don’t visit us at this time.

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“Consider how you would feel if people were unnecessarily coming to your street or the area where your loved ones live.

“We hope to see you again in better times.”

Resident and former parish council chairman Eric Lund said day visitors needed to be discouraged as well as those who owned holiday homes in the area.

He said: “We have holiday chalets in Hemsby and our agent has just refunded April and May to all our guests.

“However, day visitors are a real problem.

“The village was mobbed yesterday with everyone behaving as if nothing was happening.”

He said a friend that lived close to the village hall told him it was “unbelievable”.

“You would not have believed we have such a serious crisis.”

People were reportedly seen in very large groups walking along private roads with children running everywhere and playing on the village green.

There was said to be no social distancing and many cars driving into the village “from goodness knows where”

MORE: Coastal car parks to close in face of coronavirus

He said: “The message should read ‘stay away from our village.’

“We are all trying to protect ourselves and loved ones.

“By ignoring the stark warnings you are putting everyone at risk.”