Backlash after security guard ordered to keep watch over paddling beach near Horsham

Security staff monitoring a paddling beach in a park near Horsham has been branded an ‘absolute joke’.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 2:53 pm

As part of a six week trial Horsham District Council has put a security guard in place at the popular site in Southwater Country Park in a bid to crackdown on antisocial behaviour and overcrowding.

A booking system has also been introduced under the same trial in an attempt to manage visitor numbers with up to 60 people allowed on the beach.

The beach first reopened on Saturday, July 24, after it was fenced off in June. Residents feared the beach was being closed permanently without any public consultation.

The "Beach area" at Southwater Country Park is now enclosed by a wire fence. Pic S Robards SR2106015 SUS-210106-172226001

However, the council later apologised for ‘confusion’ over the fencing.

The security guard is already employed, the council said, and is just being redeployed from the existing team.

But the move has faced stiff criticism from people on social media.

One said: “This is an absolute joke. That guard is just as useful as a wet paper towel.”

While aothers claimed it was ‘another waste of our money’ and ‘hilarious’.

A spokeswoman said: “There has been a long history of using temporary support staff to meet demands of managing Southwater Country Park at busy times.

“Money for the additional summer support staff was already budgeted for and agreed before we decided to trial the booking system.

“The support team will be working in the park to help our permanent team and part of their role will be to look after the beach area during the session times. They will also be helping with site security, parking and visitor safety.

“There is no charge for the booking system as this is already used by Horsham District Council and there is no fee for the sessions.”