POLICE, water, and council chiefs are stepping up measures this weekend (16 – 17 Jan) to reduce the number of day-trippers flouting Covid guidance at Dovestone reservoir.
Oldham Council will be on site to enforce parking regulations and the police will also have a presence throughout the weekend to help make sure visitors are following the Government’s advice on coronavirus.
Meanwhile United Utilities is installing temporary electronic signs which will indicate when the car park is full, helping prospective visitors avoid the area before they cause a traffic jam. Initially the signs will be placed on the roundabout at the junction of Holmfirth Road (A635) and Chew Valley Road, however they can be moved to alternative locations if the impact could be improved.
It is hoped that the measures will emphasise the message that the site can only be used by local people who are taking their daily exercise. It is against current Government guidance to travel outside your local area or meet friends and family for a day out, but there are large numbers of visitors who are continuing to do just that.
Ross Evans, Estates and Land Manager at United Utilities, said: “As a partnership we have been doing our best to manage the Dove Stone site but the job is made incredibly difficult by members of the public who refuse to follow the rules.
“We have seen dangerous parking, people congregating in large groups and anti-social behaviour which is not fair on the people who live here or our employees who work here.
“The message is simple – if you drive past other parks or green spaces to get here you are travelling too far.”
Councillor Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council said: “Some of the visitors to Dove Stone need to start taking responsibility for their own actions.
“It’s easy to blame the authorities for a perceived lack of action, but this simply isn’t true. The members of the partnership are doing their best in very difficult circumstances and we only have limited resources which are already being stretched.
“If you live in Oldham try one of our many parks or green spaces near you rather than getting in your car and possibly having to wait ages for a spot on the car park. If you do take a chance and park illegally then you risk a fine.
“If you do visit Dovestone then please remember Hands, Face, Space and let’s protect ourselves, our families and the NHS.”
Superintendent Andrew Sidebotham, leading GMP’s response to Covid-19, said: “Officers continue to police using the four Es approach and will patrol hotspot areas where the public report large or repeated breaches of regulations.
“I would urge the public to think before travelling and ask those who can to stay local if possible.
“Certain places of beauty and areas can get extremely busy, making social distancing difficult and a high number of people in on area increases the rate at which the virus can spread.
“Protect yourself, your loved ones and the NHS by staying at home if possible.”
The Dovestone partnership will continue to keep the situation at the site under review.