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Neighbours of former Beatles homes in Liverpool demand curb on tourists

by Lauren Riley. Published Wed 29 Aug 2012 10:13
Kathleen Hughes, who lives in George Harrison's former home
Kathleen Hughes, who lives in George Harrison's former home

People who live in or near the The Beatles former homes in Liverpool are demanding curbs on the procession of fans turning-up in buses and taxis at all hours of the day and night.

Beatles tourism is the foundation of Liverpool's growing visitor economy with dozens of companies now offering tours around the Fab Four's old haunts.

But for Kathleen Hughes, 74, who lives in George Harrison's birthplace, 2-bedroomed 12 Arnold Grove, Wavertree, is angry that tourists roll-up in the early hours.

Retired carer Kathleen said: "The tour taxis come zooming up the street and in the summer there are hundreds of them every day.

"At the weekend they are turning up constantly, even as late as two o'clock in the morning.

"I live on my own and sometimes it's really frightening with the flashes going off through my windows and hoards of people outside my door.

"It's horrible having strangers sticking their faces in my window and knocking at all times of day.

"If the door's open some of them some are so cheeky they just walk straight into the house as though it's a museum.

"I'm really fed up of it and so are my neighbours, especially with these cruise ships coming into Liverpool bringing hundreds of coaches of tourists outside my door.

"This is a tiny cul-de-sac. It's just not suitable to accommodate these kind of numbers.

"The whole Bayern Munich football team came to see the house once, and they were all sticking their faces in the window.

"It's getting out of hand and we want the council to do something to control and confine it at least to daylight hours."

Kathleen's neighbour Ann Bennett has lived on the road for twelve years with her partner, daughter Julie, 32, and nine-year-old granddaughter Bethany.

She approached the council two months ago, but after a couple of visits by officials, is still waiting for action to be taken.

The housewife said: "We wanted to council to regulate times tours come down.

"A woman came out to see the street as well as a couple of resource officers, but nothing has been done yet.

"Some of these tour companies are making lives a misery here and they have no respect for the residents.

"The kids in this street can't even play outside, and when they do they get told to move by some of the tour operators which is completely unfair.

"Fab Four Taxis are the worst culprits, turning up as early as 8am with no consideration for anyone.

"The Beatles Festival will be horrendous here so we're going away on holiday for the weekend because it will just be a nightmare."

Ann even resorted to putting plastic barriers up at the top of the street, but that did not deter the tourists.

Paul McCartney's childhood home at 20 Forthlin Road, Allerton, was acquired by the National Trust (NT) and turned into a tourist attraction in 1995.

Under the terms of its planning permission the NT run a limited number of mini-bus visits to the three-bedroomed property each day.

Next door neighbours Tony Roberts, 82, and his wife Reni, 77, have lived there since 1970 and say the number of tourists has recently mushroomed.

Former receptionist Reni said: "Sometimes there are up to 200 people outside the house and it can be really overwhelming.

"I had to get a chain barrier put in to separate the houses because visitors were looking into my window and even sitting on the window sill.

"It has gone berserk recently with more and more tour companies opening-up.

"They turn up as early as 7.15am and start snapping away at the houses. It feels like we are living in a goldfish bowl at times.

"The whole street has signed a petition to the council calling on them to prevent coaches from driving down the road.

"We received an acknowledgement letter but nothing has been done.

"It's terrible at night when we're sat in our front room and all we see is cameras flashing with car doors slamming and people pointing and chattering.

"We have to keep our curtains closed all the time for privacy which is incredibly annoying."

Terry Kenyon, owns Fab Four Taxi Tours, and runs trips around the Beatles' landmarks but denied causing problems to residents.

Terry said: "We don't drive up the streets, but instead park at the top and bring our customers down on foot.

"We have been in touch with the council and made undertakings to them that we will not go into the roads.

"As a company, we adhere to the residents' wishes and do appreciate that they do have a private life as well."

Leading Beatles tour guide Philip Coppell said: "Unfortunately this increase in Beatle tours, particularly taxi tours, is a direct result of the success of Livepool's Capital of Culture year in 2008.

"There are some excellent drivers, but like in any industry, there is a minority who do not respect the residents or the places they are visiting.

"I can sympathise with residents of the Beatle streets. Professional guides respect the privacy of residents and avoid visiting at unacceptable times."

A Liverpool City Council spokesman said: "We are aware of concerns raised by residents and are working with tour firms to make sure they respect the neighbourhood by not inconveniencing local residents through inconsiderate parking or visiting at unsocial hours.

"We are keen to find a balance that addresses the concerns of residents and enables tourists to satisfy their interest in The Beatles."



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"Beatle houses should be bought by the city and run as museums. Could open at 10am. Tourist will go there - that's why they visit the city..." PG, Hungary around 2 years ago

 
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