Copy to letter to South Dorset MP Richard Drax

Dear Mr. Drax

I am writing to you with regard to the serious incident that occurred at Durdle Door yesterday and the lack of adherence to social distancing guidelines on the beach and surrounding area (see attached photos from social media). Even after yesterday's incident, people have still been travelling going to Durdle Door today, despite the road closures that were subsequently put in place.

We have been extremely fortunate here in Dorset not to have suffered greatly (compared to other areas of the UK) from coronavirus cases and deaths. This is undoubtedly due to the vast majority of Dorset residents strictly adhering to government guidelines. However, there have been many stories in the Dorset Echo about visitors travelling to Dorset to visit our beaches, in clear breach of government guidelines. Now that the lockdown is beginning to be eased, this problem is becoming more acute. We are still at a delicate, even dangerous, stage of the coronavirus epidemic and I fear that visitors flocking to Dorset's beaches risk causing a flair-up of cases within Dorset.

Therefore, is it not time to take action and close Durdle Door and Lulworth beaches (and other popular Dorset beaches) until such time as the social distancing guidelines have been lifted? I would ask that you take this matter up with Lulworth Estates as a matter of urgency, and ask the government to intervene if required. Furthermore, the car parks should be closed, on-road parking restrictions should be strictly enforced, and roads closed to all but residents of the area, or those with good reason to be visiting the area.

If the beaches are not closed then it is surely prudent, at the very least, to limit the number of visitors by use of something such as a booking system. For instance, pre-booking one of a limited number of parking spaces and only allowing access to the beach for those that have pre-booked.

It would be a terrible shame if there was a second-wave of infections within Dorset, larger than the first wave, that required reversal of the easing of the lockdown.

Regarding, people tombstoning from the arch of Durdle Door, are there not signs warning people not to go on the arch? If not, why not? And, there should also be clear unambiguous, signs expressly forbidding tombstoning (with hefty fines for anyone ignoring the signs). Having said that, given the inherent dangers of walking along the arch, wouldn't it not be more sensible to make gaining access to the arch impossible?


Paul Dacombe