Overwhelming visitor numbers prompts cross party statement

June 17, 2020 9:59 PM
By Peter Dobbs

Following the relaxation of government rules (and the support by the Prime Minister of Dominic Cummings interpretation of them) Derbyshire Dales experienced in May very high visitor DDDC logo (DDDC)numbers to the 'honey pot' locations. With car parks, toilets, cafes and other visitor attractions still closed the influx caused significant problems of overcrowding, littering and fouling of public areas. Not ideal in a pandemic

Paul Cruise (Peter Dobbs)

Cllr Paul Cruise

Lib Dem Cllr Paul Cruise, speaking at the Emergency Committee on 4th June, asked Council Leader Cllr Gary Purdy "if he believed that social distancing was in place in the Dales, particularly in the visitor 'hot spots', was he worried about a second wave of the virus and did he think that it was time for the government to re-visit the guidance". Paul also suggested that the Emergency Committee send a cross-party message to government that the initial unlocking "had not been controlled or managed well."

That cross party message has now been released on the DDDC website and is shown below;

Speaking on the day of its release Cllr Cruise said "Being part of a democracy means working together to get things done for the benefit of residents, particularly in the challenging context of the Covid pandemic. This cross party statement is a good example where the political groups in the DDDC have worked together to send a collective message of support to residents and businesses, to thank key workers and to lobby central government to make sure our rural district is consulted and involved in the next steps of managing the Covid crisis.

It was the 4th anniversary of Jo Cox's awful murder on the 16th of June - Jo's motto was "we have far more in common than that which divides us".   
Whilst a coincidence - this statement was also issued on the 16th June - it seems appropriate to remember that we need to keep working together, listening to each other to build a better society.  
Hopefully this statement is a positive if small example of this."

Here's the full statement:

"The Coronavirus has had a significant impact both globally and nationally. Our district has not escaped unscathed. The human and economic costs of the pandemic have been hard for our communities and we express our sincere sympathies to those impacted.

"On behalf of our communities we want to thank our NHS and care workers, the emergency services, together with all key workers and front-line staff, particularly those involved in the delivery of council services. From the early stages our own district council staff have been involved in delivering emergency humanitarian aid and they have been working hard to support local businesses through advice, grants and practical support. We would also like to thank the innovative and inspiring mutual aid groups that have been created in our communities to help those in need.

"Put simply - you are all doing the Derbyshire Dales proud.

"As we move into the next stage of this pandemic and start to unlock we want to take the opportunity to call on central government to ensure that the needs of our communities are fully considered and that we are consulted on the next steps. We call on the Rt. Hon. Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government) to review all strategies and regulations to make sure that our communities are protected from uncontrolled excess visitor numbers that could contribute to a second wave of the virus.

"We are very keen to see our communities and businesses reopen whilst ensuring public health remains a priority.

"We are committed to working together cross party through our District Council Emergency Committee, Ward councillors, the Joint Resilience Forum, Parish and Town Councils and the District Councils' Network to make sure our residents and businesses are supported as much as possible during these challenging times."

Signed by: