Visitors Cars blocking residential roads

BANK HOLIDAY INVASION 26th May 2020

Despite Warnings

Despite warnings from the National Trust in the press and on social media last week, that the “honey-pot” venue of Cardingmill Valley, on the edge of Church Stretton, would be limited to one-third capacity (140 cars), it did not deter visitors in their thousands. That capacity was reached by 10.00am.

Abusive Behaviour

Some of those refused entry to the Valley were abusive to the National Trust rangers and then proceeded to park, wherever they could in town.  When the car parks were full, many parked regardless of the interests of local residents. 

Illegal Parking

An estimated 400 cars parked in residential streets, on double yellow lines, blocking pavements, driveways and side roads, preventing disabled residents and families with pushchairs from leaving their homes and denying access to emergency vehicles. For the first time ever, the pavements and verges from Church Stretton all the way to All Stretton were packed with cars.

Town Council Requested Assistance

With the easing of the lockdown prior to the Bank Holiday weekend, Church Stretton anticipated that there would be a significant influx of visitors.  That was why the Town Council requested more police patrols and an increased presence from parking enforcement officers from Shropshire Council.  Over the weekend on Saturday and Sunday, there was an increased number of visitors but it was of manageable proportions. However, a sunny Bank Holiday Monday was an entirely different proposition.

Social Distancing

While the majority sought to exercise some social distancing, there were exceptions of groups of visitors blocking access to the local supermarkets and being abusive to staff, when challenged.  Such were the numbers crowding into the Valley on foot, it was not always possible to exercise social distancing and there were examples of members of different households socialising together both in town and in the Valley.

Risking Cross Infection

Knowing of the likelihood of such numbers, most residents were careful to keep their distance but this was not always possible when surrounded, for example, in the supermarkets.  In this community, with many elderly residents, such thoughtless visitor behaviour is rightly seen as risking increased cross-infection,

Untenable

Councillor Bob Welch, Church Stretton Town Mayor warned “It is clearly untenable for a small town like Church Stretton to be expected to accommodate such numbers, especially at a time of risk. It is imperative that other National Trust sites and countryside venues are opened before long to cope with the pent-up demand.”

Mayor, Cllr. Bob Welch

8 thoughts on “BANK HOLIDAY INVASION 26th May 2020”

  1. Supermarkets have brought in all manner of restrictions to protect staff and customers but I have not seen any restrictions on parking, and for obvious reasons – in the open air it is significantly less likely to transmit the virus and the natural barriers of cars make it quite straightforward to maintain social distancing if you just pay attention to what’s going on around you. So why does the NT open Cardingmill Valley to cars but severely limit numbers? I can’t see that making sense as the same number of people end up in Cardingmill Valley anyway – having parked nearby wherever they can and then walked into CV. As far as parking is concerned, C V should either be open or closed, not half-opened or one-third opened. The bigger problem for the NT is managing visitors once they are in CV – wherever they parked – with particular reference to toilet facilities.

  2. Parking tickets should be issued for those parking outside of the car parks, the money could go back into Church Stretton or at least it would cover the cost of the clean up. It’s a shame because it will only start to ware down the natural landscape, leaving nothing to enjoy.
    I was passing through Picklescott after visiting my parents and almost got run off the road by a white 4×4 Audi, full family on board and were obviously not local.

  3. after the weekend disaster, the forecast for this weekend is hot again! what have the council learned from this and planned to do ahead of another invasion from the masses again??? perhaps they havern t learned a thing! #stay safe stretton.

  4. I too witnessed the chaos of Bank Holiday Monday. I live in Ashbrook Crescent and have some some days now been aware of the the new National Park ‘overflow car park’ that is the residential area comprising Churchill Road and associated cul-de-sacs, Shrewsbury Road and elsewhere in near proximity to Cardingmill Road. I cycled up the Valley in the afternoon ( almost impossible I might add due to the sheer numbers of people walking all along the road to and from their cars which they’d parked on the ‘overflow car park’ ) I took some photos of the number of visitors and how many of them were in groups of 6 or more. The NT website warnings about lack of parking clearly encouraged some people to get here very early. Many clearly didn’t check before setting off to come here. So many issues here. Parking on pavements was widespread as it was over the days before Monday. Of course there are all sorts of reasons for the ‘invasion’. Wales and it’s coastal resorts‘ closed’ to visitors. Half term holiday when many of our invaders would normally have booked holidays in Uk resorts or abroad but have had to cancel. People fed up with being cooped up for so long. What can be done? Something needs to be done that’s for sure. The Town Council, Shropshire Council, the National Trust, the police, BBC Midlands Today, Radio Shropshire and other interested parties ( the Coop etc) need to get their heads together to come up with ways of dealing with this problem created by the recent government’s relaxing o the ‘lockdown’ travel restrictions. This will not be the last time we have these ‘invasions’ from the West Midlands and elsewhere as long as Wales is ‘closed’ and we’re all in lockdown(as if we are any more, from what I’m seeing!!) Perhaps on anticipated busy visitor days the police might consider erecting signs at the main entrances to Church Stretton off the A 49 when Cardingmill Valley is full indicating that people will be fined for illegal parking eg on pavements or even preventing non- residents from entering the town once the town is ‘full’ (??) . What about using the school car park, leisure centre car park, the playing fields by the pavilion etc etc for overflow parking ( some income opportunities there too.) Lastly I despair to think what people did regarding toilets on Monday given the huge numbers here – a major health issue of ever I saw one. Portable toilets an idea paid for by users?. NTrust website warnings are not enough. More planning and anticipation needed by all involved. I foresaw all of this days ago and contacted Town Council , National Trust and police with my concerns at the time but it still happened as I predicted. Come on there have to be solutions.

  5. The National Trust could introduce a booking system like it has for its ‘busiest’ car parks to help manage visitor numbers. This would certainly deter visitors who have a considerable distance to travel.
    Interesting to note that capacity was reached by 10.00 yet the National Trust did not post it’s ‘Car Park Full’ message to Facebook until 13.25!!!
    The Town Council and the National Trust need to listen to the community’s concerns. Also, speak to the Co-op and look at Jonathan Jay’s post on CMV’s Facebook page yesterday.

  6. Could the council issue passes to residents who live in the Stretton area which should be displayed in car windows . Those without a pass should be asked the reason for their visit and if they are not here to deliver food to vulnerable residents then they should be asked to leave . NT care parks should be closed and cones put out to restrict visitors. NT should send out the message that they are closed to visitors who are not part of the Church Stretton area.

  7. So why the council allow it not seek help from police! Many vulnerable people felt violated and intimidated yesterday! Oh it’s good for the Town HOW!?? Even before lockdown most would only visit the town to empty the shelves then sod off back up valley!
    Think town council get there head out arse and start working for the safety and respect local community not stupid bloody things like re calibration of traffic lights and speed signs!
    There clearly is no consultation between National Trust, Town Council or police that’s for sure!

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