A COUNCIL has put a plan in place to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus as more and more visitors head to the Wirral coastline this summer.

It is hoped the move will minimise the potential spread of Covid-19 in tourism hot spots.

The summer months always place a great deal of pressure on Wirral’s coastal resorts. However, this year that pressure is greater as the council, residents and visitors balance a desire to return to ‘normality’ with the need to stay alert to minimise the potential for a further spread of the pandemic.

A Wirral Council spokesman said: "While the general message remains for people to stay at home as much as possible - even while lockdown is eased and more businesses and services are permitted to start up again – it is inevitable that the attraction of Wirral’s coastal areas will continue to prove too great for many to resist.

"The numerous spells of unseasonably good weather contributed to making beaches and open spaces irresistible to many over the past few weeks and while the majority of visitors have acted responsibly - adhering to advice about social distancing and being mindful of the environment - others had not been so considerate.

"Their anti-social behaviour and the impact it has had on other visitors and residents have led to the council and partners implementing a Summer Coastal Plan, many features of which are already in place in New Brighton and West Kirby."

The key themes of the plan are:

* More public litter bins, bulk bins in popular areas and an enhanced rubbish collection and street cleansing service.

* Parking restrictions and traffic management zones in New Brighton.

* Improved partnership working between the council and agencies such as the police, fire service and RNLI and increased community patrol presence at key points.

* Barriers to prevent vehicles accessing New Brighton Dips.

* The reopening of a limited number of public toilets - complemented by portable toilets - for emergency and medical use.

Parts of the Summer Coastal Plan were given a boost at the end of June when some public toilets were reopened and there was a return to full operation of the beach lifeguard service provided by the RNLI, which meant the council was also able to lift restrictions on access to Hilbre Islands.

Other aspects of the plan were implemented even earlier, including an increased number of bulk bins being put in high footfall areas backed up with an increased level of street cleansing.

In response to concerns raised by residents, a permanent traffic order is now in place banning motorhomes from staying overnight on the cul-de-sacs of Kings Parade and Coastal Drive. The order prohibits motor caravans from parking at these locations between the hours of 8pm and 8am.

Also in response to concerns, Merseyside Police have enacted a number of orders making parts of New Brighton a ‘dispersal zone’ over the course of some summer weekends in an attempt to prevent large gatherings in places like The Dips and other local open spaces.

Protecting The Dips is the intention behind a proposal to invest £100,000 in placing rocks around the perimeter of the grassed areas to prevent vehicles gaining access. Using rocks in this way would provide an ambient barrier to cars, while not detracting from the attractiveness of The Dips.

The council’s overall investment in the Summer Coastal Plan amounts to nearly £500,000.

Cllr Julie McManus, cabinet member for community services, said: “The plan is all about encouraging everyone to take personal responsibility for their actions and be considerate of others when they are out and about enjoying everything that is great about the Wirral’s coast.

“If people treat each other and their local environment with the respect it deserves – give each other space, put all your litter in the bin – then we will all benefit and be free to enjoy our outdoor space this summer.

“However, no matter how strongly we press home this message, there always seems to be a minority who think that it doesn’t apply to them. It is for that reason that we have put these plans in place – it will give us the additional powers and resources to limit the negative impact of some of this behaviour on responsible visitors, residents and the environment.”