Since travel rules have been relaxed Appledore residents have noted some visitors have flouted social distancing rules and safety precautions, despite guidance signs being placed on pavements all over the village, writes Ray Goldsmith.
Others pointed out that some selfish or unthinking car and van owners have taken to pavement parking, making it impossible to maintain social distancing when two people try to pass-by the vehicles, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.
Appledore has a large second home owner population and is attractive to visitors from outside the county due to it’s clean air, dog-friendliness, meandering pastures and pristine beaches, but residents fear the villager’s safety is being put at risk by a lack of concern for others.
One longtime Appledore visitor, Ann Andrews said: “On Wednesday evening, my friend and I were walking along one of the narrowest parts of Irsha Street when we saw a car approaching slowly. I stood against the wall of a house to allow it to pass and then became aware of two cyclists behind the car, who were clearly frustrated at its slow progress and chose that moment to overtake – on the side where I was standing.
“The first cyclist couldn’t have been closer and only narrowly missed me because I pressed back against the wall – he clearly had no thought for social distancing. I remonstrated with him but there was no apology nor even an acknowledgement. I might have been invisible. The incident shocked and worried me as a pensioner during lockdown and since I have been careful to avoid any potential exposure to the coronavirus.”
An Appledore Facebook group poster, Tracy Nicholson, commented angrily regarding skateboarders and cyclists using the pavements where shoppers queue outside the local convenience store Johns. She said that several skateboarders and cyclists appear around early evening and travel along the quayside, almost knocking pedestrians over unless they jump out of the way.
Play fair plea
Whilst the rules are not law, not observing them could result in new harsher guidelines being enforced, which nobody wants. A shopper said, “The argument made is that if this were so it would effect only local people in the long-term as tourists usually visit for a short time. It is not seen as fair that locals should have to pay for negligence caused by visitors. Masks are already compulsory in shops and people are not keen on further draconian measures. Visitors are very welcome here however, but please play fair.”
Councillor Barry Edwards said: “Covid-19 figures for Torridge are some of the best in the country, and we’d like to keep it that way rather than be hit with another lockdown like Leicestershire experienced.”
According to Government statistics, Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the South West are decreasing with the current number at 13,020 total cases while the r-rate is 1.1. Locals would like to keep it that way.