How seaside resorts are preparing for an influx of visitors this summer

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Richard Slee

Over the past few months local councils and the police around seaside resorts have been developing plans to deal with an expected big influx of visitors who are keen to get out and about.

The Easter bank holiday weekend was the first test of how people people might behave now that the lockdown is being eased.

Last summer one of the places worst affected by anti-social behaviour was Dorset.In Bournemouth, hundreds of new, bigger bins have been set up on the seafront, along with round-the-clock security patrols and better traffic management, including more tow-a-way trucks.

They are some of the measures which BCP Council hopes will help to avoid the chaos seen last June, when the huge crowds triggered a major incident. 

A major incident was declared in Bournemouth in June after 500,000 attended the beach. Credit: PA

On Bournemouth Pier, some of the 75 new beach wardens have been conducting training sessions.

It was council staff who bore the brunt of much of the anti-social behaviour. 

Seafront Ranger Katy Dunnill says: "Given what happened last year with that major incident and the anti-social behaviour that we saw, we've gone through conflict management training, so as a team we feel really confident to deal with those issues."

Watch: Seafront Range Katy Dunnill and BCP Council's Chris Saunders

BCP says this summer will be a 'much better' experience for both visitors and residents.

Chris Saunders, BCP Council, says: "We've got more money available, more time to prepare so I'm very confident that people will have a much better experience when they come here."

Other parts of Dorset also struggled to deal with the unexpected high number of visitors, especially at Durdle Door.

Roads were gridlocked, people were camping on beaches and rubbish was left behind.

Large numbers of people flocked to Durdle Door despite road closures (2020) Credit: ITV Meridian

This year, Dorset Council will welcome visitors to places such as Lulworth Cove and Swanage, but anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.

Cllr Laura Miller says: "I think it's about reassuring people that visitors are welcome, but we need to encourage them to look after the beautiful part of the world we live in. 

"We want you to come and have a lovely time and we want you to help us keep Lulworth beautiful and Dorset beautiful as well."

Meanwhile business leaders in Weymouth are actively promoting the resort to staycationers. They say it's the quality of the visitor that's important, not necessarily the quantity.

Dawn Rondeau from We Are Weymouth, BID, says: "We're looking for people to come who are going to take the measures seriously who are coming here. 

"We are a wonderful end of the train line so we don't get quite as many visitors and our local businesses are looking forward to the opportunity to being a hospitality and tourism destination again."

Bournemouth beach safety sign. Credit: ITV News Meridian

A multi-agency command centre has been set up in Bournemouth, and Dorset police say there will be more patrols.  

It is hoped that a beach app launched last summer will help visitors choose less crowded areas, and 30 new electric beach BBQs should reduce the number of disposable BBQs left in the sand.

The idea is to help visitors enjoy themsleves, while reducing anti-social behaviour.