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"Event day" planning will improve Formby beach traffic issues, say councillors

Formby's Labour councillors have welcomed moves to introduce an "event day" planning to tackle summer traffic and parking issues in the town.

Last year saw some of the highest ever single-day visitor numbers to the National Trust site in the town, with the May Day bank holiday particularly busy. Thousands of cars descended on the coast which has fewer than 1,000 car park spaces across two sites, leading to gridlock on the roads and conflict between irate residents and visitors. Residents also reported problems with litter being left behind.

Councillors responded to residents' concerns by asking Sefton Council to look at introducing measures to increase parking provision and encourage a more even spread of visitors across the borough's coast.

These measures are likely to include new matrix signs on Formby bypass which will advise drivers when the Formby car parks are full, and direct visitors to less busy areas.

Ravenmeols' Labour Cllr Catie Page said talks with Sefton Council had been positive. She said: "Council officers met with councillors last year to discuss addressing the traffic and parking issues. The council agreed to monitor the traffic across a number of months to see what the volume is like in quiet times and busier times.

"I am delighted to announce that this traffic monitoring will begin in March and continue until after the two May Bank Holidays. This will hopefully tell us what traffic is like in the off season and also what happens on typical busy days, such as Easter weekend or the bank holidays."

Labour's Ravenmeols Cllr Nina Killen added: "As long we get some good weather the Council will be able to estimate the capacity that needs to be mobilised when hot or busy days are likely and then look at the options to provide this capacity. For residents who live on Victoria Road and surrounding streets, sunny days can be a nightmare."

Labour activist Carol Richards, who is standing as a candidate in Harington ward in the local elections in May, said the council was committed to putting together a team that would be on hand to respond when hot days were predicted.

She said: "The plan would be to try to dissuade visitors from even entering Formby once the car parks are full. We're also still hopeful that talks with the National Trust will lead to them putting forward some plans to increase parking capacity.

"When I am knocking on doors in Harington ward, the summer traffic and parking issues are raised continuously. This is an issue that has been ongoing for many years and residents should not have to dread the next sunny day. The coast is a fantastic place to live and visit and we want to see everyone enjoy their time here rather than sit in traffic jams blocking access for residents. Nobody wants that."

PIC 1: Catie (left) and Carol at the entrance to the National Trust site on Victoria Road

PIC 2: Carol (left) and Catie at Victoria Road Formby where traffic problems persist on busy days

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