COUNCIL chiefs have drawn up a major bid to prevent Malvern residents swimming at a quarry which has claimed the lives of a number of people in the last decade, writes Natalia Lejzak.
It’s hoped the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) on the Gullet Quarry will stop people swimming there and risking their lives.
Several swimmers have died at the site in the past few years, including an incident in 2013 when two lives were lost.
But despite the tragedy and numerous warnings from Malvern Hills District Council and the emergency services, people still head to the site to swim, particularly when the weather is hot.
During last summer’s heatwave 40 people were spoken to for being in the water in one incident alone.
Malvern Hills District Council has launched a public consultation amid increased concerns raised by the Malvern Hills Trust, West Mercia Police and Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service.
The PSPO would run for an initial three years and mean anyone caught in the water or inside the perimeter fence would face a £100 on-the-spot fine under the Anti-Social Behavior, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
Swimmers could also face fines and court action for failing to hand over alcohol when asked to do so by a police officer.
Insp Tanya Beckett, from the Malven and Wychavon Police Safer Neighborhood Team, said: “Tragically lives have been lost at this quarry in previous years and just this week another tragic loss has occurred in West Mercia – where a young 18-year-old man lost his life in Shavers End Quarry, in Stourport.
“We want to do all we can to avoid these devastating accidents that occur when people enter open water.”
It’s already illegal to swim in the quarry but Trust chiefs have found the law difficult to enforce and hope the new powers – and the threat of the on-the-spot cash fine – would act as a greater deterrent.
Duncan Bridges, Malvern Hills Trust chief executive, said: “Our primary concern is the safety of the public and we hope that these measures, in addition to our patrols, will help to keep visitors safe at this beauty spot.”
Coun Tom Wells, responsible for community safety on Malvern Hills District Council, said: “It is really important the public let us know if they support this action, or if they have any concerns, by taking part in the consultation.”
Visit www.malvernhills.gov.uk/public-notices-consultations before 5pm on August 9 to comment on the proposals.