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Bill Esterson's response regarding recent parking and litter issues in Formby

Many of you contacted me recently regarding parking and traffic issues around the Formby coast.

I have been liaising closely with the National Trust, urging them to work on solutions to the many issues that have arisen, not just over the last few weeks, but over the previous few years, relating to the large numbers of visitors attracted to the site, especially on hot sunny days.

The National Trust have provided me with the following information: We’re actively investigating options for installing barriers at the entrance of both sites, along with exit mechanisms, to allow us to close the site at night (and also when it gets too busy). Any solution needs to allow us to close, whilst also releasing cars currently on site; and also still continue to provide access onto site for our emergency services colleagues.

We have a regional colleague with suitable experience now tasked with investigating this for us, and they’ll be looking into options – we will need the support of the council (highways and planning) and the emergency services (access and location) in order to consider various options, and then if we find a preferred solution, we’ll need them to help facilitate our implementation of a scheme. Partnership working with the police. We can’t police the site overnight ourselves: as a conservation charity we simply don’t have the resources or skills to do this.

Our rangers do provide some level of cover to accompany the emergency services when needed out of hours, but our risk assessment only covers them to provide a facilitation service, not attend on their own. We are deeply concerned about the impact of the recent high number of visitors to Formby: on local residents, our staff, our beautiful site and the beach. We have listened to and noted the complaints and comments made by local residents.

In response we have: Engaged in conversations with our local partners about short and longer term solutions – e.g. around traffic management, signage and policing. Brought a significant number of staff back from furlough to help manage queues, visitor flow and litterIntroduced public wi fi at Victoria Road (the lack of signal in the area is a security issue) and enabled the “pay by phone” functionality on our car park machines Started work looking at the feasibility of entrance and exit barriers and infrastructure, which would allow us to close the car parks at night or during particularly busy times. Asked one of our building surveyors to see if we can get the toilets open (the problem is the integrated hand dryer/water dispenser system which isn’t compliant with coronavirus regulations)

Considered how we best engage with the “Beach Angels” to consider solutions to the litter management problem Considered how we best engage with local residents, to regain their confidence and support Brought back a marketing and communications officer from furlough so we manage our messaging more proactivelyDone some PR around discouraging people from visiting (I was on Granada TV last week with Bill Esterson promoting this message)Changed the wording on our website to discourage visitors.

This is all work in progress and we know that solutions aren’t easy, and require joint working with all the relevant agencies and of course the council – and we have an excellent relationship with all of these organisations. We welcome any further views of comments from local residents and we will keep you posted on our progress. We know how much residents care about the town and our beautiful site, and we will be doing our best to fix some of the issues which have been flagged. In the meantime we appeal for their goodwill and support, during what is a particularly difficult time for our staff and organisation.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have any comments you would like me to pass on to the National Trust, please forward them to me at and I will pass them on. I will continue to work with the NT as well as police and council, to try to address these many issues.

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