Thanet council to appeal to government for help as massive 62,000 people flock to just two isle beaches

Margate Photo Frank Leppard

Thanet council says some 40,000 people flocked to Margate Main Sands yesterday (June 25) and another 22,000 travelled to Viking Bay – four times it usual 5,000 capacity.

The authority says resources were stretched with the “unprecedented” demand and an approach will now be made to government for more support.

The statement comes following brawls, mountains of litter and overcrowding on beaches across the isle as visitors wanted to get out in the sunshine.

Photo Tyrone Keen

A Thanet council spokesperson said: “When the temperatures are this hot people always flock to the beaches and we’re lucky to have such beautiful bathing spots. However, some people seem to have forgotten that we are still in the middle of a pandemic.

“Our beaches were incredibly busy yesterday, people would have struggled to maintain any form of social distancing.

“We recently introduced a Beach Management plan, a collaborative effort between the council and various partners including the RNLI, Bay Inspectors, Concessions and Kent Police. It seeks to address some of the issues caused by litter and other antisocial behaviour.

Visitors arriving in Margate

“The actions and effectiveness of the plan will be kept under constant review, and regular meetings held with our partners. This approach means we can maximise our collective resources but the reality is that they’re already stretched.

“These are unprecedented demands on a council that already had financial challenges before COVID-19. We want to do our best for our residents and visitors in keeping our beautiful beaches available to the public and maintaining their safety but we absolutely need additional support and resources to do so and will be making a formal ask to the Government for this.

Photo Mark Stanford

“There were approximately 40,000 people on Margate Main Sands on Thursday, four times the capacity at which a 2m social distance could be observed. Similarly at Viking Bay where 5,000 people could comfortably maintain their distance over 22,000 people were present.

“The council cannot determine which of those present are from different households, which is a consideration in terms of the numbers, but it is obvious that people are not using common sense and continue to flock to spaces that are clearly too crowded.

Photo Frank Leppard

“This problem is not limited to Thanet and can only be addressed by messaging and regulation at national level. However, we will continue to communicate local messages.

“In order to keep people safe, in May, we started providing the level of beach and street cleansing services we’d usually only have in high summer. Despite there being hundreds of bins, sadly people choose to abandon their litter on the beach. This is a problem created by the irresponsible and inconsiderate behaviour of some but it has a negative effect for us all.

Photo Dan Thompson

“Our beach cleaning teams have been out again today from 6am. They cover all the main beaches and will return again in the evening. Every day they clear bags and bags of litter – approximately 15 tonnes on average and more than that in the past few days. They do an amazing job.

Volunteer Polly clearing up Photo John Horton

“We have additional litter picking support from concessionaires at some beaches. Where Bay Inspectors are on duty, they’re supporting the cleansing service by issuing rubbish bags to the public, warning people who litter, monitoring litter bins and liaising with beach cleaners on litter hotspots. There are also volunteer groups who have stepped up and helped with litter picking – they are much appreciated.

Photo John Horton

“Rubbish is abandoned with the expectation that it’s someone else’s job to pick it up. It’s not. This area has a unique natural coastline and is part of a designated marine conservation zone – any litter not placed in bins is likely to end up in the sea. Everyone needs to pick up after themselves.

“Anything people can carry to the beach they ought to be able to carry home again. It is utterly appalling that anyone should do otherwise.

“We want people to be able to enjoy our stunning coastal areas, but to do so with respect for the wildlife and natural environment, other visitors and the people that live here.”

24 Comments

  1. Lets hope if beaches are closed it’s not just the main two mentioned here. Chaos at Botany Bay. Overrun with 1,000s of visitors. Area was overwhelmed. Same again today!

  2. Why is Botany Bay not mentioned,as that was absolutely heaving yesterday and the Fire appliance unable to get to the bottom of the road was just the icing on the cake.I and a lot of others do not feel safe down here.

    • Botany is mentioned in the other articles. I have a separate Botany article I need to finish for today

  3. The use of those laughing gas canisters needs to be addressed. These are a ‘ legal’ way to get high and it has now got to the point where it is an epidemic in itself causing similar problems from the use of conventional drugs and to the excessive consumption of alcohol. Littering from these canisters is also a significant issue.
    Legal controls are sadly needed.

  4. I feel so sorry for the local residents that live in very close proximity to the beaches. This is terrible.

  5. Throw in the numbers for botany bay and out to westgate and Tdc’s figures suggest that thanets population increased by 50% yesterday, i find that a little hard to believe. No doubt there were a huge number of people but enough to nigh on fill wembley of old? Sounds like they’ve used the same guess work as that used for Turner Contemporary and dreamland numbers in the past.

    • I don’t think Ramsgate was as bad, I live there and didn’t see the volume of people that went to Margate and Broadstairs

  6. There should be a Litter Officer together with a Police Officer (for safety) patrolling the beaches at the end of the day and imposing immediate fines on those who do not take their litter with them. And TDC should go around the beaches several times a day emptying the bins to avoid the pile up of rubbish. The fines would surely pay for the extra service!

  7. I wonder who the spokesperson was at TDC that knew how many people were on each beach. Now they know how many come to the beach can they please sort out enough bins and collections so to keep the beaches clean. It’s no good being nice and asking people to use the same bags they brought their guff in to take the rubbish home with them as they do not listen to niceties. They need to use good old fashioned fines.

  8. How about, rather than promoting Thanet to day visitors this summer, instead, hugely promote Thanet beaches are only assessable for people living or working within say a 20 mile radius or staying overnight in local hotels/B&B’s. Proof is required at check-points at roundabouts and beaches. The locals have lost their beaches to the hoards from London, who visit in their huge extended families, leave their rubbish, as have no care or consideration for the environment and most importantly spend no money in the district. These are not well-off Londoners/residents from Medway!

  9. For what TDC are so said planning on applying for will it all actually be be back into Thanets main sand irrelevant of Beach? As it doesn’t look like much now sadly.

  10. This is fake news. Viking Bay would hold a max of 3-4 thousand people at a push and about 10-12k at Margate. These figures are just ridiculous. 62 thousand in total ?

  11. The second picture of Margate beach there looks more than half empty. If it was as busy as this sure we would have 100s of decent pics of the crowds and the roads.

    Either way it’s too busy. The Cummings effect. With only guidelines now and not rules people are free and able to go where they like and beaches can be Over run. On this very website the council leader invited masses from outside Thanet to “explore our beauty spots” and even in this article can’t resist saying about how beautiful our beaches are.

    If you send mixed messages people will do what they want.

    The reason we have seat belt and helmet laws are no matter how much common sense tells us what to do people ignore it. In a pandemic of this scale to leave it to common sense was always a disaster.

  12. The PM shouldn’t have said people can travel as far as they like all those weeks ago. He knows that people travel from London to the SE beaches. Then everyone is complaining that people aren’t using their common sense. They are just coming for a nice day out to the beach as they are allowed to do. What should they have done, turned around and travelled all the way back home because the beach was busy? The rule should have been that you can travel up to 20 miles or so for recreational activities so that movement was kept in check.
    However the litter is disgusting. We need large banners up everywhere telling people to take their rubbish home. I remember years ago that the bins used to be along the beach, actually in the sand so you were never too far from a bin and there was a chap who did litter picking all day long on Margate beach whose presence made people put litter in the bins. Maybe this would help.

    • He did also say use “common sense” it would appear he’s made the simple error of believing have a reasonable amount. People want to be treated like responsible adults and not have their lives overly controlled ( which is quite correct) but when they all behave like “ numpty muppets” why is it the authorities fault.

  13. Make em book a place like a holhday. Charge em 10.00 fanily of 4.
    Log them so rubbish is took home only.
    Take control of selfish people.

  14. Coming to the beach for a day out is not behaving like ‘numpty muppets’. Our tourists should not be expected to talk to everyone else who is thinking of coming to the beach, counting up the numbers, dividing it by the space of the beach before coming with their families to our beaches. They are either allowed to come or they are not. They are either allowed to visit or warned not to. It is the authority’s responsibility ie the government to say either way.
    Or, alternatively, start to direct people to different beaches as many just come to the beach that they know and they are used to, for example, they have been there before and they know where to park. This is a possible way of easing the pressure on the main beaches… What is the answer I wonder!? Ask people to turn and go back home after travelling for up to 2 hours?
    However, the litter issue is a different matter and it is disgusting and this needs to be dealt with in and out of covid periods!!

  15. If only local no MP Craig McKinley was concerned about his constituency and not in TV complaining about slave owners statues being pulled down. Useless Tory C**T

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