‘Never seen it so busy’ - Coastal path section closed by caravan park

The Norfolk Coastal Path at West Runton. A section of the path nearby was closed by Laburnum Caravan

The Norfolk Coastal Path at West Runton. A section of the path nearby was closed by Laburnum Caravan Park. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A caravan park has closed off part of the Norfolk Coastal Path because of an influx of people “flouting the regulations” and putting staff in danger.

Fred Askew, general manager of Laburnum Caravan Park at West Runton, between Cromer and Sheringham, said the closure had been authorised by National Trails and it was not a decision he had taken lightly.

Mr Askew said: “I’ve never seen the coastal path so busy at this time of year. People are taking exercise to mean they can do whatever they want and it’s a paid holiday for them.

“We’ve had people flouting the regulations with dogs off leads, trying to gain access to our toilets, touching the door handles, using the picnic tables and encroaching on our personal space.

“This is endangering our staff that work here.”

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Mr Askew said the caravan park had closed completely before the lockdown came into force, but staff members were allowed to continue working and maintaining the property.

He said: “We’re trying to keep our staff employed because they can work on their own, and we’ve got a strict hygiene regime.”

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He said he would gladly reopen that part of the path once the lockdown was lifted.

Mr Askew said: “For years, we’ve gladly given access to locals, but they do seem to think it is their God-given right. We’ll look to remove [the closure] as soon as the lockdown is finished.”

But not everyone is happy with the closure.

Path user Mike Pike said he only found out it was inaccessible when he tried to walk from Sheringham to West Runton.

He said: “I got as far as Laburnum but couldn’t go any further. Which means you are forced to walk along the main road which is most places is less than a metre wide, making it dangerous and unable to social distance.”

Mr Pike added: “Yes, there are lots of people who let their dogs foul and are not on leads, which should be enforced by the local council. In my opinion there is plenty of space to walk, exercise and social distance.”

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