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‘Concern’ over visitors flocking to Suffolk coast after lockdown rules change

PUBLISHED: 13:15 11 May 2020 | UPDATED: 13:15 11 May 2020

Aldeburgh residents have reported more visitors to the town in recent weeks Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Aldeburgh residents have reported more visitors to the town in recent weeks Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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Community leaders have urged people to be responsible if they visit the Suffolk coast - amid fears more people could flock to the coast now lockdown rules have changed.

A sign urges people to keep safe during the pandemic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNA sign urges people to keep safe during the pandemic Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said that while the UK-wide restricions are still in force, people can drive in their cars to other destinations for unlimited amounts of exercise.

In recent weeks, residents of seaside towns like Southwold and Aldeburgh have raised concerns of increased activity, amid reports of second home owners escaping to Suffolk from London and elsewhere.

Southwold councillor David Beavan even put up a huge banner asking visitors to stay away a few weeks ago.

Councillors have now urged both permanent residents and visitors to respect social distancing guidelines in the light of Mr Johnson’s lockdown ‘roadmap’ speech on Sunday.

Southwold is popular with second home owners Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSouthwold is popular with second home owners Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

MORE: Join our Facebook group for updates on coronavirus in Suffolk

Ian Bradbury, town mayor of Southwold, said: “There’s bound to be people coming in the next few weeks. It’s a question of how many people turn up.

“It’s going to continue to be a concern. If there is going to be warm weather on the bank holiday, we could have a bit of a problem.

“We depend on everyone to be responsible and not put other people in danger. There’s no such thing as no risk.

“Let’s hope these fears never materialise.”

MORE: ‘Our town is being invaded’ - further concerns over second homeowners fleeing to Suffolk coast

Residents of Felixstowe, the second-largest town on Suffolk’s east coast, also reported seeing large crowds in warm weather as the coronavirus crisis was coming to a peak.

Nick Barber, mayor of Felixstowe, said: “I think the large majority of people are sticking to the guidelines.

“It’s inevitable that things will be relaxed eventually. We are going to have to live with this virus, but there’s got to be a balance.

“If people are going to arrive, as long as they follow the guidelines and are away from everyone else, I don’t think is a problem.

“And as long as places aren’t open, there will be nothing to come to.”

And Ray Herring, East Suffolk councillor for Rendelsham and Orford, said the arrival of visitors during lockdown had “been an issue” but urged everyone to continue respect social distancing guidelines.

He said: “The vast majority of second homeowners behave responsibly, but there’s always a minority.
“A lot of emphasis is now on individuals to apply common sense and be responsible.”

MORE: ‘Don’t infect us!’ Provocative banners tell second homeowners to stay away from Suffolk coast


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