This return to some sort of normality is welcomed by all of us, but it is vital that people continue to observe social distancing; clear up their litter; park safely; and be respectful to others. We want to let you know what we are doing as an authority; what you can do to help; and what is outside of our control.

We have seen an increase in the amount of litter that is being generated, especially on our beaches and in our car parks. We want to assure you that our teams are working flat out to keep on top of this, but we ask that if you find a bin is full, or you can't find somewhere to place your rubbish, please take it home with you. Even though we are regularly clearing up and emptying bins, the sheer volume of people using our car parks and beaches has meant that we have seen an increase in littering. Our litter enforcement officers will be patrolling busy areas and fining anyone who is caught littering, and we will be increasing our messaging from our Against Litter campaign, to remind people that they have a role to play in making sure that our district is kept beautiful. If you are spending the day out in the district, you may also be interested to know that all of our public conveniences remain open and are cleaned regularly.

We have boosted parking patrols, especially in our coastal area, and we will continue to do this. We've also met with the West Wittering Estate who own and run West Wittering beach and car park to discuss concerns raised by local residents. They are gradually increasing parking capacity, and they are advising anyone who has not booked that they should not visit West Wittering beach. We have been Penalty Charge Notices to anyone who parks illegally and we are looking at other possible measures that could be taken. We are also working closely with West Sussex County Council, which is responsible for the roads, and the Police, who have the powers to deal with anti-social behaviour, to discuss what further action could be taken, especially at times when we are expecting hot weather.

As we all know, it is vital that we all observe social distancing rules, as part of our fight against coronavirus. While our Civil Enforcement Officers, Foreshore Officers and Community Wardens have all been closely monitoring this and offering advice, they do not have any powers to enforce social distancing measures. It's also important to note, that we do not have control over privately run areas, such as West Wittering beach. We've produced signage which has been displayed across the district, reminding people that they must stay safe and leave a space; and we're currently working on another project which will further expand on this work. We've also made a video with our local businesses welcoming shoppers back to our High Streets. Our health protection team and economic development teams have also been offering advice to businesses that are reopening and we have provided free downloadable signage designs.

This weekend also sees the reopening of many pubs and restaurants across the district. We have written to all of them offering advice and guidance, especially as the government has eased restrictions around licensing and planning, to help them get back on their feet. What we would ask is that you plan ahead because many pubs and restaurants will be working to a strict 'bookings only' policy to limit numbers; please make sure that you follow social distancing guidance at all times; and avoid large gatherings or congregating outside licensed premises.

Our play parks will also be open again by the weekend. Please make sure that you refer to the guidelines that we have placed at each site, to make sure that you and your children stay safe.

We've also been working very closely with West Sussex County Council and our other partners on a Covid-19 Local Outbreak Plan. The plan works hand in hand with the test and trace system, providing a strategy on how we will reduce the spread of the virus if infections start to increase locally. If we see a local spike in coronavirus cases, the plan will ensure a speedy response to contain the virus and prevent it from spreading further. This could range from making sure that infected individuals self-isolate; to locking down a specific local setting; or even introducing a wider local lockdown where we will all need to follow this agreed plan. Let's hope it does not come to this, but it is vital that we plan for every eventuality.

I think that we all agree, that the past few months have been incredibly tough for everyone, and we all desperately want to get back to normal. However, we all have a role to play to help us achieve this. What you can be assured of is that we as a council are doing everything we can to support our local communities and businesses during what are incredibly challenging times. You can find out more about this at Coronavirus (COVID-19) or by visiting our social media sites.

Best wishes,

Councillor Eileen Lintill,

Leader, Chichester District Council

Date posted: 30 June 2020