A senior BCP (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole) councillor has criticised the decision not to hire out deckchairs on Bournemouth and Poole beaches over fears of “anti-social behaviour and violence”. A council spokesperson had said that the decision was made after overcrowding and “subsequent problems” were brought to the forefront during the Covid pandemic.
Cllr Vikki Slade, who represents Broadstone ward, said that she was “gobsmacked” by the ruling.
She says she was told that there were initial concerns over Covid, but the main factor was fears that the deckchairs could be used as weapons.
She told Bournemouth Echo: “We have a council spending large sums on barbecues, proposals for £90,000 on mayoral cars, while £200,000 is being let go from deckchairs people actually want, and it could well have been more given how busy it has been.
The three barbecues, costing £10,000 each, were introduced because the council saw them “work very well in Australia”, but Cllr Slade branded the grills a “vanity project” and said “the council had not arranged for them to be emptied. When they finally realised this they had to close the barbecues and do a deep clean.
“We are not Australia. This is Bournemouth. This is an absolute farce.”
The council had purchased 10 barbecues for £106,000, which Cllr Slade says “could have been much better spent”.
After a deep clean, the three barbeques will be reopened and the other seven are due to open soon.