Overflowing litter bin at Orcombe Point
Overflowing litter bin at Orcombe Point

As lockdown restrictions ease, East Devon is as busy as ever

As Government lockdown restrictions are easing, beaches, parks and public spaces in East Devon are busier than ever and visitors are being asked to help the council keep the district tidy, behave responsibly and keep to the two metre social distancing rule.

Since the early May Bank Holiday, people have been taking advantage of the good weather, and the council has seen exceptional levels of demand on its services such as street cleaning, litter bin collections, and toilets.

The council is asking visitors to help them keep our beautiful public areas as outstanding as they usually are, by using bins provided and if they are full, to please take home their own litter and recycle, and not leave their rubbish alongside the bins.

We have received many reports of rubbish being left on our beaches and in our parks and gardens and we would appeal to visitors to collect their litter as they leave these areas, take it home and recycle it. We want everyone to be able to enjoy these beautiful places and not have them blighted by a minority of people who leave their litter behind.

With no lifeguards on Exmouth beach currently, signage is being displayed to remind visitors to stay safe around the water. However, large groups are congregating on beaches across the district, ignoring social distancing restrictions and government guidelines of no more than six people gathering at one time.

The council is working with the police to educate and advise these groups on how their actions are impacting on others. At the weekend, the council had to close Manor Gardens in Exmouth at the request of the police as there were concerns about the anti-social behaviour of people, drinking on the beach being moved on by the police and settling in the gardens instead. The council will continue to work with the police and consider closing open spaces if people are not behaving responsibly.

Ten of the council’s 27 public toilets are open from 8am to 4pm each day and following government guidelines are being thoroughly cleaned three times a day to reduce the risk of viral transmission. Staffing these facilities is adding further pressure on the council’s services and the council is assessing how we can open further toilets or existing ones for longer.

Skate parks and play parks remain closed in line with government advice and beach huts also remain closed.

Cllr Geoff Jung, the council’s portfolio holder for Coast, Country and Environment said:

With people unable to go away on holiday, they are visiting our beaches and beautiful places instead and we’re finding that levels of demand on our services are equal to the busiest of summer holiday days.

Our staff are coping magnificently but we ask for your help by using the bins provided or taking your own litter home if the bins are full. Currently our staff is reduced by 20% due to coronavirus and our budgets have been severely impacted by the pandemic.

We are doing our very best to contend with the demand but I would ask that people think twice about their visits, and check information on local services before you arrive. Remember your actions can affect people’s lives and livelihoods. Take the time to read signage, respect the measures that local authorities and site management have put in place to help ensure social distancing, and please act responsibly.

Cllr Olly Davey, Exmouth Town ward member for the district council, said:

We welcome visitors to our wonderful beach but ask you to remember that we are still required to comply with government measures to keep everyone safe. Please act responsibly and leave our town as you would hope to find it, taking your litter home if need be.