Cornwall hit by 'tourist overcrowding' amid UK heatwave" width="976" height="549">
Porthcurno beach and Kynance Cove in west Cornwall are no longer being promoted by Cornwall's tourist board
Cornwall is "struggling to cope" with "unprecedented mass tourism" this summer, it is being claimed.Visit Cornwall, the county's tourist board, said it had actively stopped promoting two beaches because of problems caused by overcrowding.Porthcurno beach and Kynance Cove, traditionally quieter beauty spots, have seen an influx of visitors after social media promotion, it said.Local people said traffic gridlock was making some communities unsafe.
Drivers were pictured getting out of their cars as they waited in "gridlock" at Porthcurno
Andrew Tate, who lives near Porthcurno, said an "absolutely massive traffic jam" was made worse by people parking along a narrow rural road.
"The result was a massive safety problem - you literally could not enter Porthcurno, it was gridlock," he said.Kevin Hall runs a campsite nearby and said deliveries had been late."It's been unprecedented... It got to the stage where we had to go down to the junction to stop people coming into the village and try to turn them around," he said.A spokesperson from South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said: "This summer we have struggled to reach patients on various occasions due to vehicles being parked inappropriately... We urge people to park sensibly and to show consideration for emergency vehicle access."Traffic congestion and inconsiderate parking do present significant challenges to our crews, especially in tourist resorts and areas where the roads are more limited."
Perranporth experienced traffic jams in August
Malcolm Bell from Visit Cornwall said: "Nobody wants to see this sort of mass tourism affecting the area, affecting the tourist experience and clogging the roads".He said he wants to see "redistribution", explaining that many other Cornish communities need more visitors but are not being effectively promoted on social media.He estimated visitor numbers were up by about 20% this summer on the usual 4.5 million visitors per year, thanks to the heatwave, with people flocking to the south west to escape hot cities.He said an estimated one in three household incomes depended on tourism in Cornwall and a balance needed to be struck."Air bnb has gone ballistic so we've had about an extra 20,000 visitors from that every day - and when the weather is like this often relatives will come down and stay," he said.
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Deborah Hopkins, Unite union regional officer for Cornwall, said the increasing traffic created a "nightmare" for some health workers and trades people. "Each summer it gets a bit worse," she said."We need to have a serious discussion about how we balance the need for tourism and the need for business to continue to run over the summer."We have a huge proportion of self-employed people in Cornwall who aren't able to make enough money in the summer as travel time isn't paid time if you're in self employment".
Some local people at Trevone Bay near Padstow complained that the beach was too crowded for them to enjoy
"Our infrastructure is struggling to cope. The burden needs to be recognised and the government needs to invest in Cornwall," she said.Liam Hunt, 33, a plumber in Newquay, said his daily journey home was delayed all summer and it was so difficult to park on his residential street that he had abandoned his vehicle on double yellow lines and paid ?70 in parking fines.The town is expecting an extra 50,000 visitors this weekend for the annual Boardmasters festival, with drivers being warned of delays.Group Manager Mark Salter from Cornwall Fire, Rescue and Community Safety Service said: "Popular destinations such as St Ives and Newquay do present a greater risk of responding crews being delayed as they carefully navigate through slow moving traffic".
Advice for drivers in busy tourists areas
Plan journeys well in advance
Consider car sharing
Avoid travelling at peak times
Remain patient
Adhere to road traffic regulations
Observe road traffic signs
Consider road conditions
Listen to radio travel updates
Drivers must avoid using mobile phones or other devices while they control the vehicle
Use park and ride facilities if possible
Vehicles must be parked in dedicated car parking spaces
If a responding emergency blue light vehicle is approaching please find a safe space to slow down to allow the vehicle to pass safely.
Source: Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service
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