Lincolnshire

Is the coast open or not? Car parking and mixed messaging in Lincolnshire

East coast leaders could reopen some of the area’s car parks after visitors left their vehicles poorly parked this weekend, but there are concerns the move could send mixed messages.

Bad parking allegedly made social distancing difficult after people took advantage of the relaxed lockdown conditions.

Police officers have gone back to East Lindsey District Council to work on new plans.

Council leader Craig Leyland said the area was not as busy as normal weekends, however, with car parks, tourist attractions, businesses and facilities closed, some areas faced increased pressure.

Police posted photos of quiet resorts over the weekend.

“The messaging is still consistent that we’re looking to dissuade people from visiting at the moment but it’s very clear that people are coming to the coast,” said Councillor Leyland.

Staying safe, staying alert – Lincolnshire coast this morning. #staysafe#stayalert

Posted by Lincolnshire Police on Saturday, 16 May 2020

However, he added: “I think the difficulty for us is if we open the car parks, it will be seen as a signal that we’re open for business.

“The rationale for opening the car parks will be to deal with the congestion and the chaos it caused.

“It’s a slightly convoluted message, but at this point in time, because everything else is shut, we are not trying to actively promote the coast.”

Deputy Chief Constable of Lincolnshire Police Jason Harwin said the majority of people had been complying with social distancing but that there had been concerns raised.

He said officers would be reviewing the weekend to make sure appropriate facilities were in place and people were reminded of the guidance.

However, he recognised the changes in government guidance, adding: “The difficulty is if people turn up or car parks aren’t open they’ll find somewhere else to park.

“What we’re trying to do is minimise the impact on the communities that already live there.”

There were also reports that people were ignoring coastguard advice despite there being no RNLI lifeguards on the beaches.

One family reportedly went out into the sea on a rubber dinghy despite being spoken to.

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