Wish you weren’t here! – the UK beach resort branded ‘no go zone’ by locals
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The small Northumberland village has, once again, been voted the UK’s best beach town, according to a poll by Which?. However, locals say the town has become a victim of its own success and cannot cope with the influx of tourists due to an increase in littering and a lack of parking.
One Bamburgh resident and business owner, who didn’t wish to be named, said that if the trend continued, the town’s tourism industry would suffer.
The business owner said: “When it was named the best seaside resort in the UK, you could almost hear a collective groan from residents and businesses.
“Of course, we need tourists and want them here but the village is so packed on sunny days no one looks like they’re having much fun. It’s not unusual to spend an hour in your car as traffic crawls through the village.
“What I fear is that a few more ridiculous busy summers and people will give Bamburgh a miss altogether in a few years’ time.”
Local John Graham, 60, complained about the amount of litter left by tourists who were day-tripping to the beach or on a night out.
He said: “When the sun is out the place can be overrun. In the day, you get the ice cream brigade leaving their rubbish everywhere and, in the evenings, the drunken louts have their fun.
“On an average morning in the summer, I pick up five or six burnt out disposable barbecues and half-a-dozen or so bin bags full of bottles and cans.”
Around 150,000 tourists visit the village – which has a tiny population of 414 – every year for its landmark castle and spectacular beaches.
Last year was particularly busy as Covid restrictions forced millions to skip international travel and stay in the UK.
To cope with the influx of tourists, emergency temporary planning laws were introduced to free up land for extra parking.
This year, however, rules have been tightened and the town is expecting a similar number of visitors with fewer places to park.
Bamburgh Parish Council chairman Barbara Brook said: “We had dispensation last year to open the Glebe Field beside the church for 56 days and now that is going to be impossible because the directive is 28 days.
“We asked for more yellow lines – and I can understand that more yellow lines are not wanted across Northumberland – but we’re now in a dilemma because over the Easter period we had huge car parking problems in the village.”
Despite the traffic jams and the limited parking, Northumberland County Council has so far refused to increase parking in the village.
Local services director Paul Jones said: “We aren’t proposing any additional parking capacity within Bamburgh.
“We’re happy to have further dialogue to see what we can do to support you and the local landowner in terms of the use of seasonal overflow arrangements and what can and can’t be done to stay on the right side of the law.”
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