More clarity needed from Government to prevent influx of visitors to Yorkshire Coast says Robert Goodwill MP

Scarborough and Whitby’s MP has said he has been contacted by concerned residents who are worried that the area is set to get an influx of visitors.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Monday, 11th May 2020, 9:50 am
Updated Monday, 11th May 2020, 9:52 am
Robert Goodwill, Scarborough and Whitby MP. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter
Robert Goodwill, Scarborough and Whitby MP. Picture: JPI Media/ Richard Ponter

Robert Goodwill said that following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement last night that people can now travel to other places to exercise, more clarity is needed to stop the coast filling up with daytrippers.

In his address on Sunday, the PM said people who could not work from home – including those in the manufacturing and construction industries – should return to the workplace from Wednesday but avoid public transport.

Mr Goodwill said it was the section on travelling for “unlimited” exercise that had worried residents that towns, villages and the North York Moors National Park could soon be busy once again.

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He said: “I have received a number of emails from people concerned about the possibility of people coming here now.

“I had someone from Castleton worrying that if someone from Middlesbrough decided to go there for a walk, then they pop into the shop and all of a sudden there is a risk of the virus spreading.

“Our infection rate in North Yorkshire is much lower than in our surrounding areas of Teesside and West Yorkshire and people are worried about the spread of the virus.

“I think we need clear guidance on what can and can’t be done and we are going to get 50 pages of further explication later today so hopefully that will help.

“I think that really the majority of people want to obey the messages but there are a few who don’t.

“If people can use common sense then the risk is not increased but if it is used by people who do just want to break the rules then it could be dangerous.”

Mr Goodwill said that anyone planning a trip to Scarborough or Whitby should remember that the town is not open for business.

He added: “I would remind people that the toilets are closed, the car parks are closed, Whitby and Scarborough are not accepting visitors at this time.

“You may think you can come to Whitby and keep two metres apart but if you are walking down Church Street and other people have the same idea then is not going to happen.

“We all saw the pictures of Whitby and Scarborough before the lockdown and we don’t want to go back to that. We do not want to be inundated with visitors.”

The MP said that he thought one of the reasons for the confusion was the “limited time ” the Prime Minister had to speak.

Mr Goodwill said: “He only had a short time and wanted to get across the message of getting manufacturers back to work.

“Hopefully today we will get some more clarity when the details come out. Another area I’ve had correspondence about is people asking me why if it is now okay to go and meet someone in a park if you’re two metres apart why can’t they do it in a garden instead. Why does it have to be a park?”

The details of the easing of the restrictions are due to be published at 2pm.