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Durdle Door owner blames government for packed beach where people were injured

Durdle Door

Durdle Door in Dorset was packed on the weekend

The owner of Durdle Door has said the easing of lockdown restrictions in England to allow for unlimited travel resulted in the beach receiving an ‘influx’ of visitors.

People flooded to the Dorset beauty spot again on Sunday despite three people suffering serious injuries after jumping off cliffs into the sea the previous day.

In total three men were taken to hospital after leaping from the top of Durdle Door’s 200ft limestone arch.

James Weld, who owns the Lulworth Estate on which Durdle Door, said in a statement: ‘It is clear that the restriction on travelling should have been limited to local journeys only, which would not have resulted in the huge pressures being suddenly foisted on local road networks and on sites such as Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door.

‘Unrestricted travel has undoubtedly led to the unacceptable influx of visitors, despite the enormously damaging effects of restrictions on the economy and on jobs.’

Mandatory Credit: Photo by James Marsh/REX (10665650g) People are seen enjoying the warm weather at Durdle Door, Dorset as lockdown measures are eased. After the beach was closed over the weekend due to casualties from cliff diving. Seasonal Weather, Durdle Door, Wareham, UK - 01 Jun 2020

People are seen enjoying the warm weather at Durdle Door, Dorset (Picture: Rex)

Mr weld added Natural England and Dorset Council were responsible for the public right of access to the beaches and cliffs, with the Lulworth Estate having ‘no power or authority’ to close them.

He stressed that ‘everyone’ had a right to access the estate’s coastline and beaches under the Maritime and Coastal Access Act 2009.

The estate also had no means of preventing people from travelling to the estate following the easing of lockdown regulations on May 13.

Car parks on the estate were opened to ‘relieve pressure’ on the local road network and community, following members of the public previously parking ‘wherever they could’ in the village and at Lulworth Cove, Mr Weld said.

Earlier on Monday, the leader of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council wrote to local MPs and the chief constable of Dorset Police following the weekend’s chaotic scenes.

A person stands on the rocks above the sea at Durdle Door, near Lulworth, despite Dorset Council announcing that the beach was closed to the public after three people were seriously injured jumping off cliffs into the sea. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday May 31, 2020. See PA story POLICE DurdleDoor. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

A person stands on the rocks above the sea at Durdle Door (Picture: PA)

Councillor Vikki Slade said she had witnessed first-hand people failing to follow social distancing rules, illegal parking, widespread barbecues and staff facing abuse.

Ms Slade said many of the visitors to the beaches were people who had travelled from outside of the county.

Dorset Police and Dorset Council said Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove were closed after the three men suffered serious injuries on Saturday.

But on Sunday, scores of people came to the beach and so-called tombstoners could even be seen jumping from the arch.

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