RESIDENTS need to “pray for bad weather” to ensure their safety over fears thousands of day-trippers could descend on beaches, an MP has warned.

The easing of lockdown measures means people from across the county are now free to drive to the coast from tomorrow.

Brighton and Hove City Council leader Nancy Platts said the new measures were “high risk” and could jeopardise the safety of people who live here.

The Labour councillor insisted visitors must “stay away” despite the Prime Minster’s announcement, which, she said, had “not taken the city’s needs into account”.

Hove MP Peter Kyle said residents needed to hope for bad weather to prevent crowds of visitors heading to the seaside.

He said: “Boris Johnson’s statement gave no thought to tourist destinations like our and the impact it would have on our ability to protect residents from an outbreak should thousands of people flock here on a sunny day.

The Argus:

“It says everything about the Government’s current approach that city residents are having to pray for bad weather to keep them safe.”

People will now be free to enjoy the sunshine in parks and on beaches across England, but not Wales and Scotland, providing they can maintain a safe distance.

Previously, Sussex Police had been moving people on from the beach and turning away cars entering the city.

When asked about the new lockdown rules yesterday, Sussex Police said they will be engaging, explaining and encouraging people “to do the right thing”.

However they said they were waiting for Government clarification themselves.

Yesterday, a 50-page document revealed the Government intends to introduce regional lockdowns when they are experiencing outbreaks.

The document titled “Our Plan To Rebuild” outlines the UK Government’s recovery strategy and was released to the public at 2pm.

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Rumours and speculation about what was contained in it were covered extensively by the press last week.

Cllr Platts said: “The way the Government has made this announcement has caused lot of concern and confusion.

“It would have been really helpful if Government had spoken to local authorities to take questions and understand local needs and concerns before the announcement.

“We think this is a high-risk strategy.

“It’s not taking into account local and regional needs and we are not happy that we can keep people safe if we have a huge influx of visitors coming from other places.”

The council will be watching local case numbers “like a hawk”, with its primary concern being the safety of residents.

Hospitality and leisure businesses are not likely to open before July.

The Argus:

Cllr Platts added: “We will be talking to the council leaders, the police, the local NHS, trade unions, business community and local people to develop our own local plan ahead of next weekend so we are clear about how we will manage the city to keep people safe.”

Councillor Michael Jones, Labour group leader on West Sussex County Council, has written a letter to Chief Constable Giles York.

He wrote: “I believe it is absolutely Sussex Police sends a message out to residents confirming what behaviour will be acceptable to satisfy social distancing requirements, and what will not be.

“I believe that this should be as comprehensive as possible to compensate for the vague statements made in the Government’s briefing”

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said that, like other forces, they were “awaiting clarification from the Government on what the country’s next steps will look like following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement on Sunday evening”.

She added: “This will help determine the police’s role going forward and exactly how that will be implemented in practice.

The Argus:

“Until we are given different instructions, we will continue our approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging people to do the right thing and follow the Government’s guidance. Enforcement will continue to be used only as a last resort.”

Asked how officers could engage, explain and encourage people to “do the right thing” when the police are still waiting for clarification, she added: “We are encouraging the public to do the right thing by following the guidance set out by the Government.”

  • The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start the appeal. Grants will usually be for up to £5,000. More information is available at www.sussexgiving. To donate visit