The hottest days of the year to date have this week, as often happens, brought thousands of visitors to Camber Sands with logjams of traffic spreading out in all directions on Wednesday and Thursday from the main ways in to Camber (Camber Road and Jurys Gap road) – with the traffic jams spreading back into Rye and along the A259, or up Rye Hill (the A268), and into the town centre – and no doubt with similar consequences for Lydd on the other side of Camber.
However this chaos has a major impact on local residents wanting to get on with what they have to do, their normal daily lives – rather than go to the beach – and a petition was started on Wednesday by local resident Jen Sinclair after that day’s events, which had attracted nearly 1,100 signatures by lunchtime yesterday, Thursday.
Her petition said “The local economy needs these visitors and we welcome them, usually, and in manageable numbers… for years on bank holidays and particularly warm summer days the traffic and visitor numbers soar way above anything that is manageable or safe.
“During Covid, over the last few months, these visitor numbers have soared regardless of the day of the week….Rother District Council (RDC) have repeatedly posted on social media to politely ask people to not visit. This does not work.
“Today, the June 24 [Wednesday] the roads were gridlocked into and throughout the village… Local people could not get to or from work on time, local buses, postal services, community transport, mutual aid volunteers, medicine delivery vehicles were all affected. Today many school children were stuck on their school bus in queues for 4 hours in sweltering heat.
“This lack of consideration for the locals… is astounding! We are calling on RDC, ESCC [East Sussex County Council] and Sussex Police to do something!”
What “something” might be includes diversions, restricted access, penalties and toll charges according to comments made so far on the petition.
In the meantime, if the good weather continues, people will flock down to Camber Sands – particularly if their local swimming pools remain closed because of problems over social distancing – a problem apparently ignored on Camber Sands.
Indeed people were so eager on Thursday that, when police blocked the road at Lydd to visitors, they apparently just left their cars and walked to Camber with all their beach gear.
Local Member of Parliament Sally-Ann Hart said yesterday (Thursday) that “she is horrified by the images coming out of Camber over the last few days and that she has spoken to the local police and engaged with ESCC, Rother DC and Camber Parish Council.”
She went to say that a meeting was being convened for today (Friday) between the county council, the police, Highways England and others to work out a way “in which we can reduce the numbers coming to Camber”.
Image Credits: Nick Forman , change.org , Jess Macdonald .