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Tiny village known as ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ besieged by tourists as 10,000 visit every day

RESIDENTS of a tiny village known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’ say the area has become “hell” after it was besieged by tourists, with 10,000 people visiting every day.

Bourton-on-the-Water has gone “berserk” since lockdown as staycation Brits flock to the rural idyll for days out.

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But those who live in the Gloucestershire village, which boasts chocolate-box cottages and 17th century bridges, say that unlike the area’s usual tourists, the day-trippers are hardly spending any cash.

Retired farmer Bill Limbrick, 74, told The Times: “Since the lockdown lifted, the place has gone berserk.”

His wife Celia, 73, said: “They just keep pouring in.

“It’s like Brighton beach on a bad day.

“It’s always busy in the summer, but this year it’s been much worse.”

The influx of tourists has led to traffic mayhem, with visitors parking in residents’ driveways.

Locals have also complained of litter, and there are widespread reports of people urinating and defecating in car parks and gardens.

In addition, police have been forced to increase patrols as antsocial behaviour is on the rise.

And the village’s narrow bridges and pathways make social distancing nearly impossible.

Residents now fear there’ll be an outbreak of coronavirus.

The area has around 1,700 households and a large elderly population.

Mr and Mrs Limbrick say they avoid shopping between 10am and 5pm.

“It’s frightening,” Mrs Limbrick said.

“We have every right as residents to use our village, but we can’t.”

Another local, interior designer Angie Cadwallader-Kemp, 45, said: “We have never seen it like this before.

“It’s been hell.”

And the chairman of Bourton-on-the-Water parish council says the situation is becoming unmanageable.

“Every day is like a bank holiday,” Bob Hadley said.

“It’s too much for a little village to take.

“People are missing hospital appointments.”

On one day, when gridlock hit the roads, it took an hour to get from one side of the little village to the other.

“A lot of the residents are saying, ‘Why don’t we shut the village?'”, he said.

Many Brits are avoiding summer holidays abroad as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and fears over 14-day quarantine restrictions.

As a result, many UK destinations have been mobbed – with Cornish tourism chiefs warning the county is ‘full’, while in Bournemouth, a new council app closes beaches where social distancing isn’t possible.

In Bourton-on-the-Water, visitors numbers are now far higher than they were before the pandemic, locals say.

Previously, many tourists came from Japan, China and America, arriving in coaches.

However, now visitors drive from around the UK, with 5,000 cars arriving on the busiest days.

And the new tourists aren’t spending much, say local business-owners.

Nigel Payne, the owner of gift shop Santos & Payne, said: “You fight your way through the village to your shop, and then you wait there patiently and quietly until someone comes in.

“Not enough of them do.”

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