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National Trust Formby upadate regarding recent issues

We share the concerns of local residents about what has been happening at Formby in the last couple of weeks, and the impact that the large crowds of visitors have had on the local community and this beautiful place. We have been working on a collective approach with Merseyside Police, Sefton Council, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, Natural England and the Coastguard on ways to monitor and improve the situation and will continue to do so. We have been genuinely touched by the support of local residents with regard to helping clear up the beach. It shows what a proud and generous spirit there is in the community, and we would like to thank everyone involved in this effort.

Following the recent changes to Government advice on travel and exercise, National Trust car parks started to open across England from Wednesday 13 May, where it was safe to do so. The decision was taken to open the car parks at Formby to ease pressures on the local roads and the community. We have past experience of Formby seeing a huge influx of visitors and know that keeping the car parks closed does not stop people visiting, it simply forces cars to park on local roads and verges instead. We wanted to avoid that situation so kept our car parks open, but we will keep this situation under review in conjunction with advice from our partners.

We’ve been publicly advising members of the public to avoid visiting the area and matrix signage on the roads leading to Formby have carried messaging advising when the car parks were full. We also brought back a number of furloughed visitor welcome staff to help manage the situation. We can’t physically stop visitors however, and the recent spell of good weather has heightened the demand on coastal areas all over the country. But with our toilets closed (because of our handdryer/water dispensers not complying with government guidance, which we can’t immediately fix, and also because we can’t provide a facility that allows for social distancing, given the numbers on site) our messaging continues to strongly discourage visitors from further afield, and this has been supported by Sefton Council with their “wish you weren’t here” campaign.

It’s so sad to see the damage done by some groups in recent days, and to witness the lack of respect which a very small minority show for the environment, local residents and our team. We’ll continue to work with the local council, emergency services and the local community and hope you will now start to see some improvement. The support and patience of the local community in Formby is hugely important and very much appreciated.

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