Welcome to Dovestone – 13,000 cars, 80 sacks of rubbish, five penalty charge notices

ABOUT 13,000 vehicles visited Dovestone Reservoir in the last three days of May – yet the official car park only has space for 150 cars.

Massive visitor numbers caused traffic chaos in and around Oldham’s number one tourist destination followed by huge litter piles when they left.

Rubbish at Dovestones

About 80 sacks were filled with rubbish while other community-spirited volunteers removed further waste.

Despite the problems just five people were issued with £100 fixed penalty notices for breaking rules on the use of barbecues.

Oldham Council say the culprits can only be named and shamed if the notices remain unpaid and the offenders are taken to court.

But the local authority and its partners are urging people to act responsibly when visiting Dovestone Reservoir.

Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding said: “We want residents and visitors to enjoy these areas.

“But at the same time people need to be responsible and respect the moors as it is some of the most beautiful countryside in England and must be protected.

“If you do intend to visit, respect the place and residents who live there.”

Issues have increased in recent weeks as more people have visited the site for their daily exercise during the Coronavirus pandemic. The easing of lockdown restrictions may also increase parking issues.

Cllr Fielding added: “Parking at Dovestone has always been an issue, but in recent weeks it has got worse.

“13,000 cars visited the area over three days – there are only about 150 parking spaces available.

“We had vehicles double parked on the road and emergency vehicles would not have been able to get through.

“People may ask why we haven’t done this sooner but putting double yellow lines on a road is always the last option.

“They wouldn’t be needed if drivers parked responsibly and kept to the rules of the road. Hopefully, they will act as a proper deterrent.

“Dovestone is extremely busy. You may want to think of going somewhere else as you could be sat in your car queuing if you go up there.

“If you do, respect the place and residents who live there. Act responsibly and don’t take barbecues up as you are potentially putting lives, the countryside and wildlife at risk.”

Chief Inspector Claire Galt, of Greater Manchester Police’s Oldham division, said: “We have been working closely with the Community Safety partnership and have had to commit significant resources to this area, particularly since the easing of lockdown, in response to the dangerous ways that some visitors have been parking their cars, which in turn causes risk to other road users and pedestrians. “We want people to be able to enjoy our beautiful, open spaces. But it is important they do so in a responsible way that doesn’t cause harm to others.

“We have endeavoured to engage with people and educate them on the risks and have used cones and posters to act as a deterrent.

“Unfortunately, some people still continue to park dangerously, leaving us no other option than to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs).”

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