Bad behaviour on Sidmouth beach prompts councillor’s bid for new bylaws to ban boozing and loud music

Multi-agency talks are to take place on tackling bad behaviour on Sidmouth beach after a representative called for new rules to ban boozing and loud music.

The move comes after ‘appalled’ residents bemoaned large groups of young people swearing and smashing bottles on the shingle, says Councillor Stuart Hughes.

He said he received ‘several complaints’ over gatherings of up to 100 youngsters at Clifton Beach during the heatwave last week.

Cllr Hughes wants East Devon District Council (EDDC) to combat the problems by fast-tracking two fresh bylaws –  preventing alcohol consumption and use of loud radios.

He would also like to see a dedicated area for barbecues introduced.

Revellers have had disposable barbecues, cans and bottles of alcohol, ‘boombox’ radios, and have lit fires on the shingle, said Cllr Hughes.

“The complaints I’ve received have expressed concerns over the behaviour and foul language from some of those gathered on the beach,” he added.

“They have also been lining empty bottles up and throwing stones – smashing them, which is also a potential hazard for children and other beach users.

“As we come out of lockdown, it’s important we do everything we can to kick-start the local economy and, with hotels reopening later this week, we need to show Sidmouth in its best light.

“Unfortunately, this type of recent behaviour does nothing for our image.”

Cllr Hughes said he has contacted Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez on the matter, but feels bylaws are the best way forward as the force is already ‘stretched’ as lockdown is relaxed.

He added that EDDC officers have told him the issue will be raised at a multi-agency meeting later this week.

“The district council also has a Public Space Protection Order tool at its disposal which has in the past been used for alcohol, dogs and seagull control,” added Cllr Hughes.

“They do, however, take some time to put in place and may not be appropriate for an occasional gathering of people.

“I still believe, in the long-term, bylaws would be the way forward and I welcome hearing the feedback from the multi-agency meeting.”


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