CARDINGMILL VALLEY – UNITED ACTION FOR STAYCATIONING SUMMER
SHROPSHIRE COUNCIL & CHURCH STRETTON TOWN COUNCIL
PRESS RELEASE 18.6.20
Doubling Visitor Numbers
The easing of the lock-down and the pent-up social demand has seen an unprecedented doubling of the numbers of visitors to Carding Mill Valley in recent weeks, following unsolicited promotion by national media. The proximity of both Church Stretton and All Stretton to the Longmynd has meant that residents have been subjected to a catalogue of unreasonable and sometimes aggressive behaviour by an irresponsible minority of visitors. This has included abandoning cars across driveways, pavements, blocking access for emergency vehicles, scattering litter and unsanitary behaviour, often with scant regard for social distancing requirements.
Decreasing Numbers Anticipated
As other countryside venues are opened up, including those across the Welsh border, it is anticipated that visitor numbers to Carding Mill Valley will decrease. However, with the anticipated increase in staycationing through the summer months, visitor numbers will still be high.
Permanent Overflow Arrangements
That is why Shropshire Councillors, Lee Chapman and David Evans and Church Stretton Town Mayor, Bob Welch, called for an urgent meeting with the National Trust and West Mercia Police, together with the relevant Council Officers to agree permanent arrangements for managing overflow parking, with enough capacity for peak days.
Fear and Anger
All the Councillors present made very clear the high degree of fear and anger felt by residents, as a consequence of irresponsible visitor behaviour, carrying the risk of Covid-19 infection to a community with a high number of vulnerable elderly residents.
Carding Mill Valley Capacity To Increase
The National Trust committed to increasing the parking capacity in Carding Mill Valley as the social distancing requirements are reduced and bringing back more National Trust volunteers to work on- and off-site, supporting traffic re-direction and overflow parking, away from residential areas, to fields being made available by a local farmer.
Council Highways to Review On-Street Parking
Shropshire Council Highways Officers committed to reviewing the on-street parking restrictions throughout the areas affected by irresponsible visitor parking in both Church Stretton and All Stretton. They will meet urgently with Town Councillors and officers to identify the necessary changes in signage and the enforcement measures, necessary to ensure visitor compliance. Parking enforcement is a civil, not a Police, matter, so any proposed changes will require Traffic Regulation Orders.
Local Police Agree to Revise Manning Levels
The local neighbourhood police will collaborate with this work and the local Superintendent has agreed to revise manning levels on Bank Holidays.
In addition, the creation of road signs off the A49 will be investigated, together with identifying the necessary funding, to re-direct traffic to overflow parking.
Promote Responsible Visitor Behaviour
The Shropshire Council Great Outdoors will work with partners across the County to promote responsible visitor behaviour, highlighting the impacts on the communities they visit.
Progress Review in One Month
The meeting will re-convene in one month to review progress on implementing these measures.
National Trust Committed
“The National Trust is committed to working with all local stakeholders to provide safe access to this much loved beautiful countryside whilst, at the same time, safeguarding the interests of the local community.”Marcus Halliwell, National Trust General Manager for South Shropshire, confirmed
“It is vital that we all work together to safely accommodate visitors into our community, and that they respect the communities and the beautiful countryside we are all so fortunate to have access to.”Cllr. Lee Chapman, Shropshire Councillor for Church Stretton and Craven Arms
“ The Town Council welcomes the commitment of all the relevant agencies to address what has become an ever-increasing imposition on local residents, given particular urgency at this critical phase in the pandemic.”Cllr Bob Welch, Church Stretton Mayor
For further information, please contact:
Shropshire Councillor Lee Chapman
firstname.lastname@example.org 01694 723695
Councillor Bob Welch, Church Stretton Town Mayor
email@example.com 01694 72998