Beach-goers still need to book visits to West Wittering despite 'freedom day'

VISITORS hoping to soak up the sun at a popular beach will still have to book ahead of time.

By Fiona Callingham
Monday, 19th July 2021, 10:30 am
West Wittering beach.
Picture by Jane Rusbridge
West Wittering beach. Picture by Jane Rusbridge

West Wittering beach, near Chichester, will continue to operate a pre-booking system, despite the easing of Covid restrictions today.

As before visitors have to use the JustPark website or app to secure a place.

The West Wittering estate said this would allow the site to keep operating safely.

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A spokesman said: ‘As England enters ‘freedom day’ on July 19, we wish to kindly remind those planning a trip to West Wittering Beach to please pre-book their parking using JustPark. Due to increasing visitor numbers that were becoming unmanageable, the pre-booked system is the only way the West Wittering Estate can operate a safe, environmentally conscious facility.

‘Early statistics show a substantial reduction in safety incidents, queuing times and delays around the peninsula. Daily numbers have been reduced, but monthly visitor numbers have remained stable, as demand is being spread, with total visitor numbers similar to pre-pandemic levels.

‘We work closely with local authorities and other beach operators around the south coast – most recently joining forces with Bournemouth Council and registering with its free National Beach Check, which provides a traffic light system for availability indicating busy areas (red), less busy areas (amber) and those with plenty of space available (green). We will continue to adopt new innovations and ways of working to ensure a safe and enjoyable day out at the beach for visitors that works in harmony with the local community, business and residents.’

Data on incidents recorded by the beach’s lifeguard team showed between May and September last year incidents were down compared to the same time period in 2018.

Visitors needing first aid was down 33 per cent, visitors needing assistance (such as a lifeguard taking action in the water) was down 50 per cent and the number of missing people was down 50 per cent.

The JustPark booking system has been used at West Wittering beach since it re-opened to visitors in May 2020. In the early days of the pandemic it was completely closed to visitors.

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