One accepts that exceptional circumstances require exceptional measures, but certain measures being proposed can seem to be over the top. The beaches will need controlling, this is understood, but is a booking system the right way? A company has presented this system, and while it has some merit, it is a system which feels - to me at any rate - to move too far away from a fundamental principle that applies to beaches: that of the right of access.

Under normal circumstances, this right of access is meant to be unfettered. Appreciating that circumstances aren’t normal, some control on capacity is needed. But with a booking system, even if no payment is involved (which it wouldn’t be), there is a sense of privatisation, and this runs counter to the access principle.

What might happen in practice? Bookings for the whole day that aren’t then stuck to? There are people who spend all day at the beach, but there are an awful lot more who don’t. What about block bookings for whole weeks or longer? Bookings by the hour? That’s not really how going to the beach works.

You go when you feel like it and leave when you feel like it. And what about those who do book all day and then disappear for a great length of time for lunch? Selfish, or what?
The town halls are coming up with their control systems. If these are as primitive as putting up occasional ‘no vacancies’ signs, then so be it. Booking just doesn’t seem right.

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