I am becoming increasingly annoyed at families seeking a day out at the seaside being described as “selfish” (‘The atmosphere was ugly’: Bournemouth aghast at beach chaos, 26 June).
Many of these families have put up with months of educating and entertaining their children in challenging circumstances. There has been very little attention given to the needs of children. Most have been unable to return to school. They have not been allowed to socialise with friends and there is no provision for them. Playgrounds are closed, along with skate parks, soft play areas and swimming pools.
Many families do not have any outdoor space – no wonder they leapt at the chance to take the children to the seaside. They weren’t to know that hundreds of thousands of people would also arrive at the beaches, and after a long hot journey with children anticipating a day at the seaside it’s not surprising that they refused to turn back.
Many of the people complaining of selfishness have had beautiful coastal areas to enjoy for the whole of lockdown; it would be more reasonable if they were encouraged to sit in their own gardens on busy days and let the children have some fun – after all they do not own the coast. This will be a temporary problem as once more facilities open families will have more alternatives for entertaining their children.
• I am stunned that Matt Hancock could say “people have had a pretty tough lockdown” and therefore the government would be reluctant to shut down public spaces. As a Bournemouth resident, my family abided by the lockdown rules and yet we now find ourselves unable to go anywhere near the beach on hot days. If a gathering of 500,000 people doesn’t break the rules, what does?
And it’s not only residents who are at risk, it is the visitors themselves, alongside refuse workers, traffic wardens, ambulance crews and police. If anyone from Sage had been here to witness the scenes, I’m sure they would have been horrified. It was left to the council and MP Tobias Ellwood to tell Boris Johnson that encouraging people to get out and enjoy themselves could result in a major incident. What will it take for this government to come up with a proper approach to easing lockdown that protects everyone?