Fury as tourists pitch tents on Torquay's famous promenade

Fury as ‘freeloading’ tourists pitch tents on Torquay’s famous promenade to avoid having to pay for holiday accommodation

  • Several tents were spotted along seafront and promenade in Torquay, Devon  
  • Locals claim the tents are filled with staycationers pretending to be homeless 
  • It comes amid spiralling prices at coastal sites with foreign travel still curtailed

Campers have left locals furious after pitching their tents on Torquay’s famous promenade to save money on holiday accommodation.

Tourists have set up camp along the seafront in the Devon resort – with at least seven tents spotted over the weekend with campers seen cooking meals on gas cookers.

But they have been blasted by community leaders in the English Rivera town for ‘freeloading’ and exploiting a loophole to get the free holiday spot. 

It comes as the cost of a coastal stay in the UK spirals to record highs due to the difficulties of travelling abroad amid the pandemic. 

Campers have been pitching their tents in Torquay to save money on holiday accommodation

The campers were blasted by community leaders in the English Rivera town for ‘freeloading’

Roger Carter, chairman of the Cockington, Chelston and Livermead Community Partnership, said he was furious.

He said: ‘These people are having a free holiday at the expense of Torbay taxpayers. It’s just not acceptable.

‘The toilet block at Corbyn Head is closed – what about personal hygiene? Where are they going to the toilet. You’ve got a family beach down below where children are playing in the sand.

‘It was bad enough when they were on Corbyn Head, but when I saw them on Princess Gardens I saw red – that’s Torquay’s showcase.

‘I have had some strong emails with the leaders of the council. Princess Gardens has recently been refurbished at great cost and to see this is an absolute disgrace.

‘These people are not homeless, but chancers and freeloaders. It is an appalling image to present to our visitors and residents – this is not about politics but the buck stops with the council.’

Tents lived in by genuine rough sleepers on the seafront of Torquay on the Devon coast

Tents lived in by genuine rough sleepers on the seafront of Torquay on the Devon coast

Others were also incensed by them pitching on the promenade, while some said they had done nothing wrong.

Christine Lillicrap wrote: ‘What’s wrong with that? They’re not here buying second homes. Perhaps they resent having to pay ridiculous money grabbing campsites.’

Donna Nightingale put: ‘If resorts didn’t bump up their prices they wouldn’t be there so good on them, hope they enjoy.’

And Clive Hughes added: ‘If not an authorised camping spot, they shouldn’t be there.

‘Once you let one, the next thing it will be like a campsite, but at least it looks clean and tidy for now.’

A spokesman for Torbay Council said: ‘Torbay Council is aware of the unauthorised encampments and is taking the necessary steps to determine the appropriate course of action.

‘Our officers have been visiting the locations and are carrying out the necessary welfare checks.

‘We are also assisting the occupants with a more permanent housing solution which is all the more difficult under the current housing crisis.

‘We have strict legal processes to follow before an encampment can be moved. We will conduct all part of the process as swiftly as possible, whilst treating all those involved with dignity and respect.

‘Torbay is currently experiencing a shortage of suitable housing and are appealing for private landlords to come forward if they have a property available.’

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