I visited Dawlish just last week with high expectations considering the publicity of such places as Gays (cake shop) and the lovely black swans. I took my two dogs with me since the beach, or so I was informed, was 'dog friendly'.
Alas 'friendly' was not how I would describe Dawlish at all because from the moment I stepped from my parked car I was bombarded with notices telling me to do this and not do that. By the end of my visit I was convinced I had seen more notices and signs for visitors in town than I had seen by the roadside whilst driving the 14 or so miles from Brixham.
Sitting by the river trying to enjoy my Gays ice cream my view of the park was totally spoilt by a massive blue sign perhaps a metre square telling me not to feed ducks or to keep my dog on a lead. This sign was unnecessarily large because it was placed on the opposite side of the river facing me so those on the other side could see only the back of the sign blocking their view. As a result it was over-sized and could have been replaced with a considerably smaller version attached to the waste bin right next to my table - with equal effect.
As I approached the beach the signange instructed me to keep dogs onleads, pick up their poo, not allowed to do this or that and to go left to the next beach to let my hounds run free. When I arrived at the next stretch of beach the signs told me to keep dogs on leads. So many notices were contradicted by another nearby.
Absolutely everywhere I looked there was a sign telling me to comply in one way or another. There are literally dozens and dozens of them - everywhere. In over 60 years I have never visited anywhere that appears so overly dominated by what I can only assume to be the ruling local councillors whom I imagine to be hen-pecked do-gooders of independent means with zero understanding of human behaviour or even basic visual perspective.
Whoever it is they do your town a great disservice if they continue creating a 'big brother' atmosphere. People want to visit and look around without the feeling of being controlled and regulated at every twist and turn. Too many notices Dawlish, too many!
I am sure Dawlish must be a lovely place underneath all the vinyl and tinplate signage so how about rationalising all these signs very soon so your next season of visitors can actually see the town for its true worth and not just feel pushed away by all the rules and regulations on show?
Or is Big Brother really watching you?