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MP urges Londoners not to use their Norfolk second homes

PUBLISHED: 17:35 21 March 2020 | UPDATED: 08:19 22 March 2020

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman. Picture: Keiron Tovell

Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman. Picture: Keiron Tovell

Keiron Tovell

George Freeman, the MP for Mid Norfolk, has urged second home owners to stay out of Norfolk.

Mr Freeman responded to a message put out by Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital asking people to not visit the hospital and to self-isolate if they have the symptoms of coronavirus.

The MP took to Twitter to heed the warning and posted a reply.

It read: “To those people with 2nd homes in Norfolk: PLS DONT flee London to come to Norfolk: you risk spreading the virus, Norfolk’s pubs are closed & shops don’t need 2nd homers, Norfolk’s retired elderly population is at high risk, our NHS needs to focus on our vulnerable.”

MORE: Second MP backs calls for holiday-makers to avoid flocking to Norfolk

A high percentage of second homes in Norfolk are located in and around Burnham Market, north Norfolk’s so-called ‘Chelsea on Sea’.

In Southwold, on the Suffolk coast, 60pc of properties are second homes.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has advised the country to avoid all nonessential travel to curtail the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this week, Steve Double, an MP in St Austell and Newquay, penned an open letter with Julian German, leader of Cornwall Council, asking people not to come on holiday to Cornwall.

One holiday resort in Cornwall said it had received death threats for encouraging visitors to self-isolate in flats in the town.

In Southwold, speaking on Thursday, David Beavan, a councillor who represents the town on East Suffolk Council, said visitors to the town were “always welcome”, and added that while they were “clearing out the shops”, it was a good thing for business.

But he said: “The real worry is for the health service. They cannot cope in the summer months anyway when all the tourists are here, so they are going to be up against it. If we suddenly get a lot of people who don’t self-isolate properly, then it could cause a lot of problems, especially if they’re coming from high level areas like London.”

And letting agents So Southwold, who offer holiday cottages in the town, acknowledged the virus was causing “uncertainty and anxiety” for visitors in a statement.

Maureen Jones, chairman of Aldringham-cum-Thorpe Parish Council, said: “Our concern is that the people coming here are bringing the virus with them.

“People are worried - most of our permanent residents are in their 70s.”

But up in Wells in north Norfolk earlier this week, harbour master Robert Smith described the town as “quieter than Christmas Day”, though added some shops were busy.

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