A COUNCIL is ‘disappointed’ with visitors on walks overwhelming the waterside village flouting social distancing rules.

Heybridge Basin Parish Council has been forced to close Daisy Meadow Car Park from Friday (January 15) for the foreseeable future until the situation improves.

For several weeks, the car park has been filled with up to 150 cars of visitors from all over the county coming to take their daily exercise.

A spokesman said: “In light of the rising Covid cases across the country as a whole, the parish council has decided to take steps to ensure the health and safety of the residents of Heybridge Basin.

“It is unfortunate and disappointing to see large numbers of people ignoring the social distancing rules.

“The situation is especially acute with Essex having some of the highest rates of infection in the country.

“However, it has been made worse by the small minority who have flagrantly breached these rules and as Heybridge Basin is home to a vulnerable population, the parish council has regretfully decided to take action and to take steps to ensure the health and safety of its residents.

“We know the next few months will be difficult, but we urge you to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Chairman Michael Edwards hopes the temporary measures will alleviate the fears of vulnerable residents.

He said: “There’s very limited space for social distancing.

“If you walk out of the car park, there’s a towpath which is about three feet wide. The car park can have up to 150 cars.

“If you have two people per car, you would have 300 to 400 people milling about in a small area.

“The basin has always had this problem at weekends but it’s every day now. By 10am the car park is full.

“It’s not just the basin, it’s happening everywhere.

“If it doesn’t work to alleviate it, we’ll have to open it again – but we can only try.

“The police and community engagement team can’t be everywhere at once.

“But anywhere you go on the coast in Maldon or Southend, they are all suffering the same issues.”