Surrey Police is asking people to think twice if they are making plans to visit Frensham Ponds, after we received numerous calls in relation to overcrowding and potential breaches of social distancing guidelines at the site over the Bank Holiday weekend.
The large number of people visiting the site led to the parking facilities being overwhelmed, which led to numerous vehicles parking in the surrounding roads and congestion in the local area.
Officers were deployed to the location and roads were closed to prevent vehicles entering Bacon Lane and trying to access the car park.
Officers walked through the crowds, engaging, explaining and encouraging people to follow social distancing rules, which the majority of visitors took on board. The drone was also lifted to reiterate the message.
Due to the site being common land and with numerous ways to gain access, it was not possible to close the location.
Waverley Neighbourhood Sergeant Andy Crane said: “Parking at Frensham Ponds is always an issue whenever we have warm weather, and we meet regularly with our partner agencies, including the National Trust, Waverley Borough Council and Surrey Fire and Rescue, to look at ways of resolving this issue. Much of the work that needs to be completed revolves around educating motorists of the problems they cause when parking anti-socially and continuing to work with partners to minimise the opportunities for vehicles to park on the rural freeways.
“This year, we are facing the added challenge of keeping people safe. Our officers were at the site over the weekend engaging, explaining and encouraging people to adhere social distancing rules.
“In line with our approach, which has not changed, enforcement is only used as a last resort and it’s important to stress that officers can only enforce Health Protection Regulations. Government guidance, such as two-metre distancing, is not enforceable.
“If you are thinking about coming to Frensham Ponds, please park appropriately and enjoy the site safely. We are now able to spend much more time outdoors but everyone needs to take responsibility for doing that within the restrictions set out by the Government.”