Amsterdam bans new tourist shops to “prevent Disneyfication”

“Amsterdam has announced a ban on any new shops aimed at tourists – effectively limiting the abundance of places hiring bikes and selling souvenirs, tour tickets and ubiquitous waffles.

After mounting rage from locals – who wrote collectively to the mayor to protest against the “Disneyfication” of the city centre a year ago – the Dutch capital has decided that no more tourist shops will get licences in the central area.

“Nowhere else in the world has such a decision been made,” said Kajsa Ollongren, deputy mayor. “The balance is missing. We are only getting more of the same, and that is not good for our quality of life.”

It is estimated that there are 280 such shops in the centre, while tourist numbers have increased to 17 million visitors a year in the latest estimates – a tenth of them hosted by Airbnb, according to research by Colliers International.

But while some are making money, not everyone is happy. In May, chief executive of Amsterdam Marketing Frans van der Avert told a tourism conference that the city was aiming to ‘increase the quality of visitors’, rather than hosting tourists ‘with no respect for [its] character.

Amsterdam has put up tourist taxes, and on October 1, a new licencing system was imposed for anyone wanting to rent out their house short term – with fines of at least €6,000 for failure to comply, and a limit of 60 days annually.

The latest ban will apply immediately in the city centre and 40 shopping streets, meaning no new licences will be granted for things like ticket shops, bike rental companies, cheese, doughnut and ice-cream sellers.

“By not allowing new tourist shops to open we make sure our city centre remains attractive and liveable for Amsterdammers and our visitors,” said Ollongren, who heads economic affairs.

“Tourists are very welcome, but we want to avoid mass tourism taking over entire streets and neighbourhoods.”

Boris: “clear the dead bodies away” and Sirte in Libya will be a great tourist site

“Theresa May is facing further calls to sack Boris Johnson after he said that a war-torn Libyan city only has to “clear the dead bodies away” to become a world-class tourist and business destination.

Johnson was accused by Labour of being “unbelievably crass, callous and cruel” about those who died in the battle to reclaim Sirte from Islamic State (Isis), after he was asked at the Conservative party conference what it was like visiting Libya as foreign secretary.

Speaking about the potential of Sirte, the Libyan city where Muammar Gaddafi was killed, Johnson drew gasps and embarrassed laughter from the audience as he said: “There’s a group of UK business people, wonderful guys who want to invest in Sirte, on the coast, near where Gaddafi was actually captured and executed as some of you may have seen. And they literally have a brilliant vision to turn Sirte, with the help of the municipality of Sirte, to turn it into the next Dubai.

“The only thing they’ve got to do is clear the dead bodies away and then they’ll be there.” …”

EDDC seems to prefer income loss to seafront attractions

Owl has spotted a disclosure by EDDC in relation to a FOI on the loss of income and business rates on closed Exmouth seafront businesses:

EDDC effectively admit that council rental income from those properties on Queens Drive, which they closed a while back, mean a loss at a rate of over £18,300 pa. On top of the rent, they will have lost an as yet unspecified amount of council business rates and beach hut hire income. Oh, and the area now looks derelict.

Though there were claims that the Fun Park site was needed in connection with works on phases 1 and 2, there are plans in existence (see on Save Exmouth Seafront Facebook page) which show no such need for access as yet to the Fun Park.

It seems clear that EDDC have done little or nothing about arrangements for ‘temporary attractions’ on the Fun park site next year – at least as far as the public can determine.

So, we know that already part of the seafront is looking run down and desolate, and is losing money into the bargain. Further, the case for getting rid of the Fun Park seems much more to do with EDDC taking offence at a long established family business having the sheer gall to take EDDC on in pursuit of that families legitimate rights, than allowing them to continue to provide a much-loved service to the community – including thousands of tourists.

No, rather EDDC take a chance that something “might” come up by way of temporary attractions if only it hopes hard enough.

And surely EDDC is breaking its own (well-honed) rules on confidentiality when it voluntarily gives information that one owner allegedly had an outstanding unpaid bill – again.

Exmouth Fun Park WILL close – even though there is no developer for the site

For – 21
Against – 26
Abstain – 0

Notice of motion is not agreed – it is the end of the debate – the fun park will close.

For full summary of what residents and councillors said, see:

[Seaton] “Pensioners ‘with vendetta against open top bus’ accused of vandalism”

AT LAST more information – from a London newspaper! And one might question the logic of people buying homes in front of an existing coach park and then finding it a problem!

“A group of pensioners have been accused of launching a vendetta against an open-top bus service.

Derek Gawn, 64, believes his 1950s buses have been targeted by residents living in flats that overlook a pus park where they stop.

He said that drivers have faced abusive language and have had pictures taken of them by angry locals.

On one occasion he said wheel nuts were loosened on his buses while in the past he’s found his buses blocked in by their cars.

The final straw for Mr Gawn came when he believes someone set up fake Facebook accounts to give low reviews and to impersonate a councillor to complain about it.

Mr Gawn said the ‘whining and moaning’ objectors had caused him so much stress that he has decided to withdraw the popular service which has been used by 20,000 people this year.

He started up the venture three years ago to take passengers on a scenic tour of Beer, Colyton and Seaton in Devon and Lyme Regis and Charmouth in Dorset.

The main flash point has been the bus park on the seafront at Seaton next to the block of flats which was built in 2002.

Mr Gawn said: ‘The open top bus tour has been withdrawn due to hostility from a small minority of local residents towards our staff.

‘We have taken the decision after me and my staff have been subject to tirades from a few local residents in the Seaton and Colyton area.
‘Sadly a couple of residents of the flats have taken to shouting at the drivers for parking our buses in the bus park, as they don’t want them outside their flat.

‘There was a slight issue with the fact we run older vehicles which obviously pre-date emissions tests and when they start up on a cold morning they can be a little bit smokey but they’ve passed all their tests. All the engines were shut down once they were parked.

‘It has been elderly people in all cases. It is the same type of people who buy a house next a railway and then complain about trains, despite the railway having been there for over hundred years.

‘It isn’t for the bus drivers to be shouted at by residents and we no longer wish to subject our staff to such behavior from a small minority of locals.
‘We have experienced people deliberately parking their cars badly on the approach to our depot at Colyton Station in an attempt to make access difficult.

‘We had one resident taking pictures of the drivers arriving in their own private cars.

‘Recently we even had a bus tampered with at night. All the wheel nuts were loosened on one wheel, and the wheel nut indicators were all put back on to cover the damage. That’s dangerous and could kill people.’

Mr Gawn said that he was even confronted by a group of residents after he had loaned two double decker buses to be used as grandstands in the bus park for a recent carnival.

He said: ‘We had a deputation of about five people which did upset me. We were doing it for charity and they still complained.’

He added: ‘The whole thing has made me ill from the stress of repeatedly dealing with these people.

‘The final nails were not mechanical issues or the weather. It was the continual whining of a few people.

‘I do realise that 99 per cent of people do support us, but I can no longer cope with the one per cent.’

A spokesman for Kingsdale, the company that manages the flats, said residents had an issue with the noisy engines.

He said: ‘The complaints being made by residents relate to coach services generally and not specifically the Mendip Mule.

‘It’s about drivers who leave their engines running while they’re not moving. This is a long-running thing and there have been complaints about that practice.

‘In the case of the carnival the issues were related to the fact he parked his vehicles length-ways and was blocking the view, but that’s got nothing to do with his service.’

Pensioners ‘with vendetta against open top bus’ accused of vandalism

BBC national news takes up story of tourist bus pulling out of Seaton and Colyton due to elderly residents objecting to it

Since when was an EDDC coach park, where EDDC receives the revenue and the land is owned by EDDC, a town council problem?

“An open-top bus service has been axed because of “hostility and tirades” from residents, its operator says.

Drivers of the Jurassic Mule service, on the Devon and Dorset coast, have been verbally abused and a bus depot entrance was “deliberately blocked”.
The Mendip Mule Motorbus service runs through Beer, Colyton and Seaton in Devon, and on to Lyme Regis and Charmouth in Dorset.

Issues over parking had arisen in Seaton and cars had been badly parked, intentionally, across Colyton bus depot’s entrance, owner Derek Gawn said.

He said the company used a bus park in Seaton, provided by East Devon District Council for use by buses and coaches on a pay-and-display basis.
“It isn’t for the bus drivers to be shouted at by residents who don’t welcome the facility,” Mr Gawn continued.

“[And it’s] not a particularly good welcome for the much-needed tourists bringing their spending to the town.”

East Devon District Council said it was a matter for Seaton Town Council, which has not responded to a BBC request for comment.

“We have also experienced people deliberately parking their cars badly on the approach to our depot at Colyton Station in an attempt to make access difficult,” Mr Gawn added.

Some people have taken to social media in support of the service.
On Facebook, Clare Dare said: “I think by moving next to a bus park there is a pretty good indication that there may possibly be a bus or 2 in there at some point!!!”

Becky Perry added: “Such a shame my little boys loved their adventure on the open top bus this summer!”

Seaton to twin with Siberia?

Rumblings in Seaton and Beer, where direct buses to Exeter (X52) via RDE have been cut to two a day – 10 am and midday from Seaton and 11.20 and 13.20 from Exeter and no X52 on Sundays.

The only alternatives for those wanting to go to the hospital is the lengthy journey (30-40 minutes longer) 9A via Sidmouth, which will require a change of bus in Exeter, or an expensive taxi.

Youngsters (are there any in Seaton?) will be unable to take advantage of metropolitan education, jobs and activities unless they get up very, very early and come home by teatime and those with jobs outside Seaton will definitely need their cars.

And should guests checking-in at the new Premier Inn fancy leaving their cars behind for a day out after they have exhausted the offerings in the sleepy town on a rainy day – well, at least they will be back in their hotel in time for very early dinner and they can be tucked up safely in their beds by 9 pm!