ISSUES including visitor numbers, traffic, parking, anti social behaviour and crime were discussed when Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Sefton Central MP Bill Esterson and Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell enjoyed a walkabout at Formby’s National Trust.
They met with National Trust staff who told them that they felt visitor numbers had declined at peak times due to signs on Formby bypass directing visitors to Ainsdale instead, where there is more visitor parking available.
Although more visitors were travelling to Ainsdale, Mr Esterson said on-road parking near Formby beach was still impacting hugely on residents and said he welcomed a proposal by Sefton Council to introduce a tow-away zone.
Large visitor numbers have resulted in several incidents this summer and over previous years, including a serious stabbing incident in May when three men were hospitalised.
Police dealt with unofficial raves and parties, as well as parking and traffic issues.
Residents regularly report more low-level anti social behaviour, such as visitors relieving themselves in gardens, parking and even picnicking on residents’ drives, and throwing litter onto lawns.
Mr Esterson said: “ NT staff and volunteers do great work in conservation and offer fantastic leisure opportunities.
“They told me about their plans to build a new car park to replace the current provision which is sadly being eroded by the sea.
“Unfortunately the number of spaces overall will not increase significantly but I am working with them, the police and Sefton Council to try to address the parking and traffic issues, including a tow-away zone which I think will be very effective.
“New parking restrictions may also be needed. Thank you to the police who take a very proactive role now in directing traffic away from the area once the car parks are full.
“Anti social behaviour is a huge issue for local residents and is often linked to drinking alcohol, which should be banned at the beach.
“A meeting with Sefton Council and elected representatives is due to take place this month to discuss all these issues and potential solutions.”
Mr Esterson said the police had done good work in addressing some of the issues, against a backdrop of a decade of cuts.
Mr Esterson said: “Our Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell has brought more police officers to the area which will help address the impact of a decade of cuts from the government.”